Past Reports

2018

3rd January   2018      Stuart Andrew  “A Parliamentary Report”   

 Forum 2000 welcomed MP, Stuart Andrew on January 3rd , anticipating that  since he is now an Assistant Whip, they might  learn what has really  been happening in Westminster in the past year.   Politics however is not so simple.  He pointed  out that what was needed was some strategy to get the House to vote for the Government’s policies.  If anyone had any idea  how this could be achieved he would be glad to hear their suggestions.  Politics being the art of the possible,  in most of the problems he had faced during the year compromise and continued search for answers  had been the frustrating outcome.  One  success  he was happy to publicise was his work in making Leeds Children’s Heart Unit   a first rate facility. He reported his work on Transport, and confirmed  his commitment to building more houses and preserving the Green Belt. He paid tribute to the work that groups such as Horsforth in Bloom do to improve life in Horsforth.   A series of searching questions followed on many  issues such  as a combined authority for Yorkshire, the need for skills   education, the NHS and Mental Health,  homelessness,  plastic waste and many other things which trouble the people in the Yorkshire area.  On the whole he felt that there were no easy answers though in the case of  assisted dying he felt the answer lay in good palliative care.  He was thanked for finding time to speak to Forum 2000  and for all the work he does in the constituency.  

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January  10th      2018                   Frances Smith  “Islamic Architecture   in Spain”

 Forum 2000 welcomed  Frances Smith, a fellow member on January 10th to talk about “Islamic Architecture in Spain”.  She illustrated her talk  not only with pictures of such spectacular sights as The Alhambra  at Granada  and the palaces and mosques of Seville and Cordoba but with small forts and their  settlements. The new Arabian Empire started as an invading force with a series of fortifications,  small forts captured during their forward progress then strengthened.   Frances gave   a detailed history of the rise of Islam from the Prophet to the conquest of the Iberian Peninsular.  This included the Islamic Age of  Enlightenment with its developments in Science and Mathematics and the passionate love of learning motivating the  leaders of the time.  The beauty and grandeur of the buildings  was a visible statement of the Islamic  rulers’ desire to show Allah in his works.  The discussion  following  the presentation was wide-ranging, and searching questions allowed Frances to show the depth of her research.  An interesting  morning exploring new ground for many in the Forum.   

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Jan. 17  2018          Stephen Turnbull  – Why Japanese Gardens?  

Forum 2000  members travelling some distance to  meetings struggled to get in on January 17th   but for those who ventured   it was a rewarding morning.  Dr Stephen Turnbull  chose this time to look not at religion or war but at  Japanese  gardens.  The Japanese value formality and conformity.  Every branch of culture has its own rules and part of the observer’s appreciation of the beauty of the garden lies in his recognizing how well the design conforms to the accepted rules.  Stephen started therefore by setting out these rules, borrowed scenes being one.   Mount Fuji looming behind the garden for example provides a wonderful background.  Photographers will recognize the technique.  There are other conventions:  “Sabi”  which  favours  the faded weathered look and “Wabi” simple perfection. The  pictures which followed illustrated these points with each season presenting its individual beauty. The basic setting  was a symphony of sober greens, shrubs and gravel strategically placed. Colour transformed everything.  Spring brought cherry blossom;  Autumn glowing maples;  snow on roofs  elegant shapes in Winter.  An artist’s sensibility was evident in all these gardens.  An interesting discussion followed  comparing Japanese and English taste in gardens. It was decided that the terrain controlled the taste- gem like gardens for rocky Japan- rolling landscapes for Britain

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Jan  24 2018  Hugh Allan  “From Apprentice to Expert Witness”     

Forum 2000 turned from  Japanese gardens to what some might wrongly consider a less inspirational subject on January 24th when Hugh Allan spoke about his life as an engineer in “From Apprentice to Expert Witness.”      This year the Institution of Civil Engineers celebrates 200 years since its foundation and Hugh,  a distinguished member,  had good reason to look back on his own career with some pride and a desire  to promote Engineering and particularly Civil Engineering as a prospective career for the younger generation.  He appealed to the many influential grandparents in the audience to play their part.   Certainly he had enjoyed a varied and adventurous life. Starting as an apprentice and then joining the Local Authority Drawing Office  was  only the beginning of  a lifetime of interesting projects taking him to all corners of the globe and involving him in many prestigious  developments.   He had clearly enjoyed his  work  and  the responsibilities it entailed.   Some indication of his final status can be gathered from his position as an Expert  Witness in litigation particularly for the  EU investigating engineering disasters and calling large corporations to account. 

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Jan. 31  2018   Andrew Carter      “Northern Powerhouse”      

 Forum 2000 once again sought information about the future prospects of their own city and region on January 31st when Andrew Carter, Leader of the Conservatives in Leeds City Council came to talk  about  “Northern Powerhouse?”  He began by saying that he remained to be convinced about plans for new regions and elected mayors:  his aim in the talk was to make the issues clear and present the various arguments for changes that were being suggested.  He started by naming the areas which would be within the boundaries of the new region and then went on to put the subject into context  with the abolition in  the Budget 2010 of  the  Regional Development Agencies  as a government  cost cutting exercise.  He mentioned several possibilities  but  warned against secrecy – whatever was decided transparency was essential.     Leeds,  with its  history of trade diversity has fared  better than some cities but     was hampered by poor infrastructure and perhaps political naivety.   The Tram Project,   the spring board for new ambitious plans for the city,   failed in the face of  lobbying  bus companies.  Future  planning decisions  about roads, connections to the airport, housing,  must be scrutinized  and he made a plea to all present to take an active part in planning consultations .  Many informed  questions followed Andrew Carter’s lucid presentation  but his warning that devolution might  not work to the advantage of the people of Leeds ended the session on a somber note. 

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Feb. 07 2018     Rachael Unsworth     “ Reading the Urban Landscape. ”      

Forum 2000  followed  up a talk given  last year when they welcomed Dr Rachael Unsworth on 7th February to talk about “Reading the Urban Landscape.”  In her previous talk Rachael presented a vision of future development on Leeds’ South Bank but in this one she showed how studying the built landscape from maps or aerial photography for example,  can reveal the long-term processes which created that landscape. She showed some well known streets in York, Leeds and London pointing out the traces of medieval or even Roman street  planning still evident.    These landscapes changed for many different reasons; Medieval craft areas left a plan followed by later developers but with the Industrial Revolution the scale of work places and housing changed.  In Leeds for example textile factories attracted a large workforce in need of housing;  growing commercial enterprise attracted a new professional class of lawyers and accountants who needed offices and town houses.  Other changes were deliberately planned.   A magnificent Town Hall was needed to emphasise the importance of Leeds and impressive shops followed the growing prosperity.  In recent times    tax incentives, business regulations and all the complexities of modern living- congestion and public health considerations  have had their effect.   

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Feb. 14  2018     Peter Watson   ‘Forty Years of Incredible Care’        

Forum 2000   learned about the history of the house  and the work of Wheatfields Hospice on February 14th when Peter Watson spoke  to them.   He started   with pictures of Wheatfields House,  built as a gentleman’s residence, a fitting dwelling for  a prosperous linen manufacturer looking to improve his social status.  In the Italian style, its  ornate interiors  attracted interest nationwide.  It was also notable for its gas central heating   and electric lighting, a novelty at the time.  Requisitioned during the war it suffered the indignity of being a central canteen for school dinners before opening as a Hospice in 1979 with the backing of  The Sue Ryder Foundation.  As a listed building modernisation  was  restricted but over the years extensions and improvements have produced the present 18 bed hospice with its many other services  which have transformed the end of life and respite care in Leeds.   Many of his audience knew  from personal experience  the care he described which makes  a difference not only to patients but to their families and friends as well.  All this depends on the work of staff and volunteers going far beyond the call  of duty.  One to one nursing care,  beyond the means of  NHS hospitals, costs money and all the  work is  possible only  because a team of professional  fund-raisers and thousands of volunteers keep the money coming.  Forum 2000 warmed to Peter’s enthusiasm and contributed to a collection for Wheatfields Hospice. 

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February 21st 2018   Graham Maud & David Atkinson  ‘Trends in probation   Work’   

Forum  2000 last invited Graham Maud to talk about the Probation Service in 2013 and it was clear from the latest talk that there have been many changes since then.  On this occasion he and David Atkinson, a former colleague and now a Lecturer in Criminology, looked at the history of the service and the present organization.  For centuries the priority had been mainly to punish offenders but with a growing prison population the need to protect the public by rehabilitating the them developed.  Inhuman conditions in prisons led to a rise in philanthropic individuals and organizations interested in the welfare of the prisoners.  David gave a masterly summary of the changing conditions over the centuries.  Graham talked about the present system.  The role of the probation Officer today is firstly   advising  judges in sentencing, inspecting bail hostels and  monitoring prisoners on probation or release.  More importantly there is a special department  to monitor serious offenders who might be a danger to the public.  Both spoke about the difficulties caused by funding cuts and lack of training in some privatised agencies.  Society also has changed: mental health, drugs, cyber crime, gang-related slavery, knife and acid crime all present new challenges.  Probation today is more concerned to protect the public; the welfare and rehabilitation of prisoners is having to take second place.  It was obvious from this extremely interesting talk that the Probation Service was at breaking point.

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28th February 2018    Malcolm Johnson      “Famous for 12 Minutes’          

Cancelled because of snow.

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March 7th 2018      David    Davies         The Austerity Years in the UK  1945 to 51

Forum  2000   had a wander down Memory Lane when David Davies. An engineer and University Lecturer spoke about  “The Austerity Years in the UK from 1945 to 1951.”  Lest rose tinted spectacles should distort the view of his listeners he started by demolishing some myths such as the belief that the whole country held firm in the blitz, citing an example of one city council which collapsed and was replaced.  He looked at our national standing having to be fed by the US and Canada without any influence on the international stage.  The Berlin Blockade, the falling of  the Iron Curtain, The Korean War, still un resolved today,  all these events increased both tension and expense for the UK but  at least the Labour Government had the chance to put their recipe for a fairer society into practice with nationalisation and the Welfare State. Continued rationing which felt worse than it had done during the war and a shortage of housing combined with fuel shortages generally led to a feeling of discouragement and emigration increased with only one or two events like the marriage of Princess Elisabeth and the Festival of Britain to lift the spirits.  Many people imagine that peace must have transformed life for exhausted Britons but David Davies made clear in this most interesting talk that such was far from the case. 

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14th March 2018             Heather Millard       “The Cottingley Fairies in context”  

Forum  2000  explored the background to a spoof which must have done much to relieve the gloom of the First World War in 1917.  Two cousins, aged 16 and 9  claimed to have seen fairies at the bottom of their garden in Cottingley.  They managed to take convincing photographs, using  the Princess Mary Gift Book for the cut out figures,  which were met with scepticism by Elsie’s father but accepted as genuine by members of the Theosophical Society including Conan Doyle.  Their deception was never uncovered until they admitted their fraud in 1983.  It says a lot for Elsie’s ingenuity that she was able to doctor her photographs and concoct a story to prevent any witnesses to her meetings with the fairies.  On the other hand members of the Theosophical Society tended to be gullible because they longed for evidence to bolster beliefs which on the whole were ridiculed by most thinking people.  Heather went on to enlarge on the topic of fairies in folklore and literature pointing out rather wrily that “The Cottingley Fairies”  story has proved very useful to Cottingley, drawing tourists to the village and featuring in the publicity of estate agents in the area.   

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March 21st   2018  Linda Jenkinson  “ Birding in the Lower Aire Valley”      

Forum   2000 enjoyed a most interesting and timely talk on 21st of March when Linda Jenkinson a teacher on birds and green spaces returned  with a talk on “Birding in the Lower Aire Valley.”  Linda’s tour of the Aire valley started at the Rodley Nature Reserve which everyone was delighted to learn had won Country File Magazine Nature Reserve of the Year Award.  She described the site and the variety of bird and invertebrate life to be found there.  She followed the river to Bramley Falls and Kirkstall Station.  Kirkstall Abbey has a goit with sheltered water where she discovered  damsel flies and Snakeskin Fritillaries.  Linda opened up amazing areas which were a revelation to many of her audience,  her photographs of a sweeping weir near Cardigan Fields which was a particularly good bird spotting site being a good example.  The wild areas covered in her talk extended to Woodlesford Lock Fairburn Ings and out to St Aidan’s.   In each case she mentioned the birds she had personally recorded.  It was a most detailed and enjoyable journey but what made it special was that it revealed treasures easily accessible from main roads and tucked behind familiar landmarks such as the Vue Cinema or Iceland.  It certainly inspired many members of the Forum to get their cameras out and make bird watching plans for the coming Easter holiday.

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   April 11 2018                                    Rita  Saville  Stones                         Votes For Women  

Forum  2000    once more provided the speaker for 11th of April from among its own members when Rita Saville Stones gave a talk on  the Suffragettes.   She had developed an interest in history when she retired and researched  the suffragettes.  Rita made a spectacular entrance dressed as one of her subjects with tambourine and sash and singing the suffragette anthem.  As requested several ladies had come in costume for the occasion.        She outlined the aims of the women’s movements explaining the difference between the Suffragists who eschewed violence and the Suffragettes under the Pankhursts who believed in direct action including arson and suffered barbaric treatment when failure to pay fines led to imprisonment and forced feeding when  on hunger strike. World War One  saw the campaigners supporting their country by doing war work and by 1918 their efforts won them  support for their political  aims.  Rita also pointed out that Leeds had its own heroines in Mary Gawthorpe and Leonora Cohen.  It was interesting that Leonora, the wife of a wealthy Leeds jeweller  smashed the glass protecting the crown jewels and yet ended her days as an OBE and JP.  Mary Gawthorpe whose skills as an organiser and publicist contributed greatly to the Movement has never been properly recognised and ended her days in America, a militant  women’s rights campaigner  to the end of her days.  The morning ended with a presentation to the most convincing Forum 2000 suffragette. 

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April 18th  2018                    Roger  J Barton                        Waiting for the Rains                   

Forum   2000 went to Malawi and Zambia on April 18th  guided by Roger Barton  when he came to give a talk entitled  “Waiting for the Rains.”  Roger based his talk on the book he wrote in 2012  about his experiences in the seventies when as a successful printer he had applied for a job in Malawi.  At the time   he had just finished his one-year Certificate of Technical Education course in London and was looking for a post as lecturer in a college.  When he noticed the advertisement as a Training Officer with the Government Printing Office in the administrative capital, Zomba it appealed to him because he had always been fascinated by far-away places and an  adventurous life.  The Overseas Aid Organisation was in charge of recruitment for training positions and  he was duly interviewed and appointed. In Malawi his first task was to interview potential students for 200 places and plan their course of training.  He was in effect setting up a department of  the Civil Service which would be needed to run the country as colonial power ended.  His photographs revealed a country practically umtouched by modern technology though there were broken down buses.  Roads were unsurfaced or had strips of tarmac only.  Cycles were widely used  ingeniously stacked with wood or transporting  goats: ferries had rope ladders.  Picturesque    but revealing an impoverished and primitive society and one which he says is very much the same today.

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25th April 2018       Barbara & Peter Murphy      A Year in the Lfe of Rodley Nature Reserve

 Forum  2000 went from dry lands last week to wetlands when on 25th May Barbara and Peter Murphy gave a presentation on   “A Year in the life of the Rodley Nature Reserve”   Since they came to talk about the Reserve in 2011 there have been many changes leading up to the well-deserved  award of Country File magazine Nature Reserve of  2018.  The floods of 2016 devastated the Reserve and the work to restore it has resulted in amazing  developments.  Eighty acres  is now a wetland site with reed beds and open water where fish such as brown trout, washed in as eggs  when the Reserve draws water from the river,  supply rare birds like Goosanders.  Rodley has made –to -measure hides with wheelchair access, a wonderful children’s area and study centre where they can dissect owl pellets,  a dipping pond, not to mention 100 nest boxes including one barn owl box used by a pair of kestrels, and an artificial sand bank for sand martins.  There are some problems however.   American mink wreak havoc and have to be trapped and foxes and deer are at risk of being shot by locals, but on the whole,  with coppicing providing fencing and eventually income and  80 enthusiastic and competent volunteers,   the outlook for Rodley Reserve is bright.  Barbara’s photographs and Peter’s commentary made this morning a delight for the whole audience.

 

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May 2nd   2018  Mark Burns -Williamson   Police & Crime Commissioner

Forum  2000  welcomed the opportunity on May 2nd to find out what  the West Yorkshire  Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Burns-Williamson  actually does.   He is responsible for a large budget which previous banking experience allows him to manage shrewdly and he can be called to account for its spending.  He has certainly invested in neighbourhood policing and must be doing something right as there are plans to add the Fire and Ambulance services to his already considerable body of responsibilities.  First on his list of priorities is burglary though a questioner claimed that  the police do not a;ways follow up crimes unless violence has been involved.  He denied this but added that human trafficking investigating sexual abuse and cyber crime take up an inordinate amount of police time.  Looking at the rest of his list of 16 priorities  the  wonder is that  on the whole we have a remarkably well ordered state and most people feel reasonably safe.  Among police successes must be numbered reclaiming the proceeds of crime, Victim Support and Restorative Justice.  Mark mentioned the disastrous effects  changes to the Probation Service and mental health have brought about,  both of which have left the Police with responsibility for victims of their failure.  Government policies in general can have unintended consequences which he has to manage.  Fortunately he gave the  impression  of competence and a thorough  grasp of the complex issues he is called on to handle.    

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May 9th   2018             Rev Nigel Sinclair     The  Goldfinch in Renaissance Art         

Forum    2000’s last talk until September took members into the world of great painters.  The Rev  Nigel Sinclair, Vicar of St Margaret’s Church Horsforth came to show the results of  his long study of Renaissance Art which led to his spending some months of  a sabbatical visiting continental Art Galleries and churches.  He showed a selection of art works including a statue from the twelfth century, altar pieces, paintings by Raphael, psalters and illuminated manuscripts , all with goldfinches.  He then considered the reason for their frequent presence in devotional pictures.  Some communities in Italy ascribed healing properties to certain pictures of the Madonna and Nigel had investigated to find that dating from Roman times  white bird called a caladrius was said to predict the outcome of a sickness by either staring at the patient- recovery  or looking away – death.  The goldfinch replaced the caladrius  perhaps in Christian art.  Since the goldfinch is resplendent in red and orange with dramatic black markings it is more like that it was seen as symbol of royalty in the hand of the child born to be king.  Nigel is a keen bird watcher, an ordained minister and  has a lifelong interest in great painting;  Forum members thoroughly enjoyed the wonderful pictures and learnt a great deal about Renaissance painting.  It was an ideal talk to end the Spring Programme. 

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 September 19th    2018       Skeletons – Our buried Bones               

Forum    2000’s    first talk of the Autumn  Programme  for 2018 was on September 19th  with Katherine Baxter,  Curator of Archaeology at  Leeds Museum talking about the exhibition she had organized:  “Skeletons- Our Buried Bones.”  This was particularly interesting because it showed the exhibits and talked about them but it also gave an insight into the work that goes on behind the scenes when  an exhibition of such scale and complexity is organized.  It involved material from The Wellcome Foundation collections which illustrate the connection between science,  medicine, life and art, in this case from their collection of 20,000 skeletons, and bones from the Hunterian, Glasgow and from the Battle of Towton. Practical things e.g. methods of displaying the skeletons were discussed  as well as ethical problems – did these people want their bodies to be exhibited –is it grave robbing to excavate sites and take bones?  There were also issues arising from allowing children to become involved.  Leeds Museum is family-oriented and Katherine had this in mind from the start.  Questionnaires allowed visitors to discuss these issues and Katherine revealed the results of this research.  The majority of  people supported the exhibition on the grounds that it extended our knowledge of health and welfare  matters and initiated important discussion on values and attitudes to how we live and face death.  The children seemed to take a robust and realistic view.  A  good start to the programme -gruesome sights and challenging ideas.   

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September 26th    2018       Modern Russia     Illya Yablokov             

Forum    2000 welcomed Ilya Yablokov, Teaching Fellow in Russian Studies at Leeds University, to talk about Modern Russia’s prospects of becoming  a democratic state.  He started by putting things in perspective, comparing Russia with other post USSR states eg Hungary and Poland where freedom is now restricted and the state is increasingly authoritarian.  He then presented an overview of Russia’s development from the time of Peter The Great, showing how successive rulers worked to turn Russia into a great European states like  Austria or France influenced by the Enlightenment.   Alienating powerful nobles resulting in one’s overthrow,   had to be avoided,  thus  progress in human rights had to be managed judiciously and freeing the serfs had to wait.  This shed new light on the politics of the Crimean War and its after-effects as well as the fall of the Royal Family and the success of the Bolsheviks.  Powerful interests consistently threaten democracy in every age.  Stalin’s   totalitarian state lasted despite  the  economy being  destroyed,    only by citing  threats from the West.  After Russia’s  victory in 1945 military strength kept totalitarianism in power, but economic failure   eventually destroyed it.  In his final section Ilya discussed the  developments since 1991saying that failure to establish institutions to make democracy work,  caused the rise of Putin, the oligarchs and the Russian Orthodox Church.  This tour de force of a talk suggested   the thread of pro-western values running through Russian history  might yet be hopeful.   

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October 3rd     2018           Stuart Wrathbone       Excavations in Kirkstall Abbey Guest House           

Forum    2000   enjoyed a presentation on October 3rd  on “The Excavation of Kirkstall Abbey Guest House”  by Stuart Wrathbone ,. President of the Medieval Settlement Research Group who has just finished editing the Excavation  Report.    Founded in the twelfth Century, like the other abbeys it was  stripped of all its valuables metals including the lead roof , melted down into ingots and carted off so that not much was left  though more than any other guest house.  Stuart used pictures and maps but mainly excavated foundations to reveal a small industrial community with water mills- corn and fulling, a tannery,  metal working plants and a sophisticated water system with a diverted   stream routed round kitchens and  latrines carrying waste to the River Aire and a gravity fed piped system carrying drinking water to both floors of the Guest House.  One lead pipe which had escaped the notice of the commissioners  helped reveal the water system.  Stuart explained the rule of hospitality which led to the Abbey’s bankruptcy, a boon to  the historian as the records of the  Administrator, the Earl of Lincoln,  exist while other records have gone.    It was possible to learn about the diet of the time and the trade, from the animal bones found,  including cod bones, which must have come from the coast but Stuart also revealed much about the way people lived generally.  Another interesting morning. 

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October 10th      2018          Geoff Druitt/David Vail      The Listener Scheme in Prison      

Forum    2000  welcomed  Geoff Druitt and David Vail on October 10th to talk about their work in Leeds Prison,   Geoff briefly described the history  of Samaritans  including  going  to places where loneliness might be an issue:     Going to prison is a terrifying,  depressing experience,  particularly for vulnerable people who have had nothing to guide them in life.  They may well have loved ones  struggling in their absence or themselves face the difficulties which addiction and debt bring.  Suicide might seem the only way out.       Geoff and David described how the Samaritans met the challenge of rising suicide rates in prison by providing someone in the prison who would  listen as Samaritans listen.  Every Monday they go into Armley and train prisoners as Listeners.  Prisoners apply  and are then carefully vetted.  They must not present a security risk and need to be seriously committed to helping those who need  help.  They must be reliable and  to be trusted, if necessary  passing  worries or concerns to staff  without betraying details.   Those who are accepted  are  trained and wear the black tee shirt with “Listener” on it. There are about 20 Listeners at the moment.  A good listener has to work with the system and find opportunities  for a requested listening session.  All prisoners can be moved at short notice and a replacement Listener has to be found.  Members learnt a lot about conditions in Armley and the work of Samaritans. They appreciated the morning.           

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October 17th      2018          Forum 2000 – Forty Years On 

Forum    2000  celebrated its Fortieth Birthday on October 17th with a party after the AGM.  Both the Chairman’s and Treasurer’s Reports showed that the Forum had had a good year with increasing membership and many outstanding talks not to mention a successful Trip to Parliament.  There was however a reminder that change is inevitable.  There were no nominations for the officers who keep the Forum running.     The Treasurer has given notice that 2018/2019 will be his last year in office.  He suggested that someone might shadow him this year and having learned the ropes take over after the AGM in 2019.   Dave Hodgson,  has been an outstanding Treasurer and this is a wonderful opportunity for anyone who might want to take on the role of Treasurer in the future.   Shadowing other jobs would ensure the continuity of the group for  finding speakers,  chairing meetings etc.  The alternative, the meeting was reminded, was to bring Forum 2000 to an end.  The meeting was followed by the cutting of a splendid cake and an enjoyable get-together,  Edwin Barlow’s daughter, Pamela Voice, being a very welcome guest. The highlight of the year for Forum 2000  is the Edwin Barlow Memorial Lecture.  

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October 24th     2018           David Davies       UK and Europe –Awkward Neighbours        

Forum  2000 welcomed David  Davies, engineer and lecturer, to talk about the difficult relations between the UK and Europe.  He started by discussing the underlying reason for Britain’s past success in war and hence  position as a major power from the Armada onwards: when she had strong allies she won but on her own, eg in the American War of Independence  she lost.  Winning in WW2 left her at a disadvantage compared to  other great powers.  Russia having  extended  its empire and created a buffer zone between itself and the European members of NATO, set about exploiting European weakness and division. Other states concentrated on developing a prosperous industrial state whereas Britain, still believing itself to be a great empire and  major power had to support a  large army, fleet and air force as well as a  welfare state.   Jean Monnet worked to rebuild France  and to end war, by uniting Europe, starting with Germany and France.  Thus began the EU.  Its success tempted Britain with its  increasingly  failing economy, to apply for  membership and with the fall in GDP after the Big Bang the island mentality clicked in and Britain opted out.  David clearly showed Britain’s constant lack of insight into its own situation as well as the lack of shrewd leaders at key points.  This report does not do justice to the breadth and fascinating detail of this really engrossing  talk.

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October 31st      2018          Paul Rogers         The Edwin Barlow Lecture 

Forum  2000  members came in force on October 31st to hear Paul Rogers deliver the Edwin Barlow Lecture.    He has been coming for some years to give an analysis of  the international scene and the future of the world,  asking the question “Is the world a safer place now than it was last year?”  He looked first at the major powers and their policies which have not changed since last year.  They all want to increase their areas of influence for both material and political gains.  Trump with his trade wars and protectionism,  risks impoverishing other countries  resulting in civil unrest and lawlessness. He  spreads discord and the US constitution might well be damaged by his attacks on the press and destruction of civilized values.   His threats to Iran could result in  a return to nuclear threats.  His policies in Israel, backed by  Christian Evangelists will certainly foment trouble in Palestine.  Putin, with a weak economy but  ambitious to restore Russia’s status as a great power wants to undermine his rivals by cyber war  damaging commercial interests and destabilizing government.  The wars in the Middle East inspired by religion  and  a desire to increase power and wealth seem set to continue and result in  a permanent threat of terrorism to western democracies.  On every side Paul could see the rise of popularism and right wing politicians.  He did however hope in the power of the UN to restore some peace.

2017

 Report 4th Jan 2017   “A Parliamentary Report”  Stuart Andrew

Forum 2000 started the New Year on January 4th  with a chance to question  MP Stuart Andrew.    He discussed  national,  international and local events  starting with the Leadership Election.  He thought Theresa May stood out from the other candidates.   Having supported ‘Leave’ in the Referendum debate he  regretted the tone of the campaigning and  had been deeply affected by Jo Cox’s assassination which had united all local politicians and in fact he made the point that he had a warm working relationship with other Leeds MPs.   On Syria  he had gone out to a camp for Syrian refugees to gain first-hand knowledge of conditions.  He championed the UK’s policy of supporting refugees near their homes.  On the matter of the amount spent on overseas aid  Stuart made the point that Britain could not renege on Treaty obligations.   He agreed, however that aid should be more carefully monitored.  but pointed out that overseas aid was successful in helping states    become competitive,  improving life chances for their citizens.    At home he had successfully campaigned for the Children’s  Heart Unit in Leeds and fought  to retain the funding when the trolley bus bid failed.    A heated discussion about planning was met by a pledge to continue  working for change.  His  interventions in the past have been  successful  in changing the Government’s  attitude  and hopefully things would improve.   All sides aired their views and the morning was enjoyed by all

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  11th  January 2017             “ Sugar V fats and Cholesterol ”   Glyn  Wainwright,

Forum 2000  braved the gales on January 11th and over 70 people came to hear Glyn Wainwright on  “Sugars V Fats and Cholesterol”.  Glyn, an independent research biochemist, is engaged in researching with eminent scientists all that has been written about fats and sugar in the diet.  His results indicate  damaging effects of Sugar on the organs of the body   leading to  Diabetes and  Alzheimers, not to mention the consequences of obesity.   He started by examining the labels on products and interpreting their languages so that his audience could understand what they were eating.     The aim of his talk was  to illustrate and explain the action of sugars and fats on the various organs and this he did by showing how  cells  work and are affected by nutrients.  Lipids  are essential in the formation of cells and form the cell membrane.  According to Glyn,  sugar damages  cells which are then rejected by the organs.   When starved of cholesterol  these do not work properly.  Glyn claims that lack of cholesterol damages the brain  causing  dementia and the pancreas causing diabetes.   Replacing essential animal fats with sucrose substitutes not only damages organs but is the reason obesity has increased.  Destroying vital cholesterol with statins is the final blunder in the story.   The audience was given much food for thought.

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Forum 2000  25th    January 2017  Dr Simon Lightfoot

Forum  2000 invited Simon Lightfoot to return and  consider the results of the Referendum, even perhaps to shed some light on the future of the UK.  This he did on January 25th  although he had to admit that the future  was still impossible to predict.  His slides reflected his own attitude, among them : photos of Cameron showing his complacency, a cartoon of  Davis, Johnson and Fox, as crusaders, a graph indicating the age range of the voters showing that the decision depended on voters over 45  and equally telling, the bus promising £350m a week to the NHS.  The question and answer session was longer than usual and revealed much unease in the questioners about a variety of issues from Theresa May’s reasons for fighting the demand for a parliamentary  vote to  the possible break-up of the EU.   Scottish independence, he felt, might eventually happen but Scotland would have to apply to rejoin Europe.  Concerns about parochialism and the apparent gullibility of the public were met with a reminder that there  had never been popular support for  the EU and this country has consistently voted in reactionary governments which would suggest that public opinion is basically itself reactionary and  inward looking.  So much depends on the deal Theresa May achieves and she has no intention of releasing any details.  It will be at least two years before we will really have a clue about our future.

 

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Report for    1st  February 2017  Geoffrey Forster 

Forum  2000   always enjoys  hearing about local places and an audience of 110 turned up on February 1st  to hear Geoffrey Forster  talk about “The Building of the Bramhope Tunnel”.      Grainger, the architect and Bray,  the contractor,  did in fact achieve a working tunnel a year later than planned but Geoffrey showed that their inefficiency and  shoddy work  cost lives.   The tunnel has ever since been dogged by  problems.  He  described  some of the accidents which common sense and good management  should have prevented.  The  memorial in Otley churchyard,   was built with the same stone as the tunnel and both have suffered erosion.     The area must have been like a gold rush town plagued with drunken behaviour and  filthy disease-ridden slums, the bothies for the miners’ families.  They  were not welcome in the local villages.  Pool for example  refused to bury the miners killed in accidents, “No navigators to be buried in Pool.”  Otley proved more charitable.      The locals put up with the noise of explosions day and night,  the addition to the population of 1,929 workers and their families, and the loss of their water supply.  The questions  reflected the the audience’s reaction to what turned out to be less a triumph than a  dark moment in local history.    This story needed to be told.

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Report   8th   February 2017  Malcolm Johnson

Malcolm Johnson made a welcome return  to Forum 2000 on February 8th with his presentation:  “Children’s Favourites.”  This was the second instalment of his presentation on  the children’s  radio programme,  popular when children had not turned into mini – adults but still had recognisably childlike preferences in their choice of music.  It picked up the story in the sixties.   ‘Messing about on the River’,  ‘On the Trail of the Lonesome Pine’  ‘There’s a hole in my bucket’ not to mention Bernard Cribbins and ‘The hole in the road’  – Malcolm accompanied these records with pictures of the stars in their   carefree  youth.  Nostalgia reigned in The Grove Centre.  Then of course some of the sad stories behind the stars emerged.  There were problems with drugs and alcohol, womanising and suicide – far from the happy Saturday routine of 11 year old Malcolm with his “Children’s Favourites” Saturday  Matinee,  football match  and “City Varieties on the TV  There were of course  stars Clive Dunn, Benny Hill and Charlie Drake among them who lived happy and blameless lives.   The end of Children’s Favourites is obviously still painful to Malcolm.  His hero Ed Stewart was forced out because he worked for Radio 2 and Tony Blackburn  replaced him.   The children’s element ended and “Children’s Favourites” became  “The Tony Blackburn Show”.  Childhood came to an end!  Malcolm is an amusing speaker  who leaves you with something serious to think about.  It was an entertaining morning.

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Christine Harlan  “After the Presidential Election” 15th    February 2017

Forum  2000  invited   Dr Christine Harlan  to assess the implications of Obama’s election in 2009  and invited her back on 15th February 2017 to do the same  following Trump’s success.  She started by asking why he had triumphed.  Unlike other presidents he  did not belong to a political dynasty and he had no experience in politics or public service.  His anti- establishment stance was shared by others, both Democrat and Republican, better qualified than he yet he won.     She concluded that he won partly because the electorate likes outsiders but also because he appealed to middle aged, white, less  educated people,  angry about job losses and lowering  incomes.  They blamed the banks for 2008 and were alienated by Clinton’s cosying up to Goldman Sachs.   She mentioned  the level of fear in America generally, a result of media sensationalism and ignorance of the world outside – many voters use Facebook as their main means of information, distrusting the press and  TV, partly because of Trump’s campaign to discredit them.   She listed  six qualities he would need to succeed: communication skills, organisational ability, political skills, policy vision, cognitive style and emotional intelligence, admitting that his aims and actions so far cast doubt on his score in most of these.   Examining his qualifications she  felt his flaws might well bring disaster but his clear guiding vision could lead to success.  Eventually   all agreed that nothing  about the future, except his unpredictability, could be confidently predicted.

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Catriona Morrison  “Does it matter if you forget things?” 22nd     February 2017

Forum  2000   once again welcomed a returning speaker when Professor Catriona Morrison came to answer the question, “Does it matter if we forget things?”     Catriona spoke about the Psychology of Ageing  –  social,cultural.biological and cognitive.     Memory failure can be a natural part of growing older and she went on to look at healthy ageing, questioning such ideas as “Use it or lose it” or “A healthy mind in a healthy body”.  Certainly an alcoholic can suffer brain damage similar to that found in a stroke patient and as health improves  memory will also  improve.  In healthy older people   conscious effort can effect an improvement  in memory  in what Catriona called  the seven sins of memory:  transience,  absent mindedness; blocking or feeling something is on the tip of your tongue;      mis-attribution – false recall where details  were misunderstood; suggestibility where a person could have memories planted by a third person; bias;  persistence where ideas become fixed like tunes and haunt the subject .  Catriona went on to illustrate the effects of brain damage in dementia using evidence from the case of Iris Murdoch,  a noted academic and novelist.  At the interval Town Councillor Valerie Wood Robinson talked about Horsforth Town Council’s campaign to provide help and  education  about Alzheimer’s Disease.  Dr Nick Almond finished with a presentation of his research findings on anomia or forgetting names.  A disappointing finding was that doing crosswords does not improve your brain.

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Rachael Unsworth    “ Leeds Past Present and Future,”     1st     March 2017

Forum 2000  listened to an inspiring  talk on March 1st when  Dr Rachael Unsworth,   writer and lecturer,  spoke   on “Leeds Past Present and Future.”  Her work with the Civic Trust in Leeds  led to the Trust’s  producing  a discussion document in response  to Leeds City Council’s document on strategic planning for Leeds City Centre and particularly the South Bank.  The Trust wants to extend the range of the City Garden planned by the Council, changing the use of old buildings and where necessary moving quite recent ones  e.g. the Asda headquarters- to be demolished to give a sizeable area of green land.  Rachael’s radical  ideas seem visionary but already amazing changes can be seen: industrial coal staithes have become a call centre; Ruth Gorst Academy has been built in the docks, warehouses have become offices, Salem Chapel is now a data centre, its  enterprising owner planning to sell the heat produced as a valuable by-product.  The changes will attract families to live nearby and will entail making  it a safe residential area as well as a productive work place.  Examples from abroad show that gardens can be created as flood defences, heat networks can be developed in areas such as Leeds Dock.    It will take nerve and investment to make radical changes e.g.  create space by narrowing city centre roads.  If only Rachael Unsworth were in charge,  her vision and drive  would make Leeds a model of sustainable development.

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Antonia Lovelace    “ Leeds Museums Discovery Centre”     8th     March 2017

Forum 2000 members  celebrated the opening of the City Museum in 2008 and  the Museum Store in Yeadon.  On March 8th Antonia Lovelace spoke about the present store.  “The Discovery Centre” in Hunslet.,   a striking building  but  also forward thinking –  it is built on a platform to keep it safe from flooding.  Antonia, the Curator of the World Culture Collection, took her audience on a section by section tour of the Centre.  The effect was similar to wandering round a superb junk shop.  There probably was a method to the arrangement but it was not apparent as you looked at the  United Jewish Synagogue screens next to a large Iguana from Tropical world.  Local people can donate to the Museum especially if they have interesting dead animals- the Centre  has its own taxidermist- and you can see a stuffed cockatoo  next to its own skeleton.  The earliest exhibited body is that of the Leeds mummy, Nesyamun- not from these parts.  There are various classified collections entomology,  ossary, geological, and HM Customs and Excise supply them with  confiscated items e.g.  butterflies, turtle shells.  From the area she curates,  Antonia brought   colourful examples of Plains Indians ceremonial outfits donated by a collector in Bradford.  These are kept on a top shelf  and the intrepid Antonia is a trained scissor – lift operator.  It was a fascinating tour and members have accepted an invitation to visit the Centre on a Thursday later in the year.

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Paul Carter  “Yorkshire Water”     15th     March 2017

Paul Carter, Political Engagement Officer at Yorkshire  Water, revealed his company’s blueprint for Yorkshire,  a global as well as a local blueprint.  The history  of water in Leeds starts with    Roman sewers (still used)   and ends with the  recent takeover in 2008 of Kelda Group by a consortium of businesses.    Privatisation reduces  bills  by introducing competition and    Yorkshire Water  now has a competitive wholesale sector.  The domestic customer would not benefit so retail is unchanged.   Water companies are regulated by Acts of Parliament and by several bodies including  OFWAT, DEFRA and the Environment Agency so we are in safe hands.  Paul’s PowerPoint    graphically demonstrated the activities of the company.  There is a grid system so we should never run out of water and we heard  about the size of the network, the length of pipework, number of companies,  litres of waste water cleaned etc.  The scale of  waste treatment and recycling was impressive and ecologically valuable.    Treatment   fuels the whole sewage plant in places and the end product is sold as fertiliser. Yorkshire water moreover cleans rivers, creates nature reserves, looks after the environment, safeguards against floods  and provides clean beaches.  This  impressive story did not end there.  Water Aid helps third world countries by sending out  experts, not just setting up village pumps but helping to set up whole city water departments  providing  safe water and sewage disposal.   This is one utility we can  be justifiably proud of.

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Kersten Hall   “Bacteria, Biotech and Big Bucks”     22nd      March 2017

Forum 2000 members faced a very challenging subject on March 22nd when Kersten Hall  returned to talk about “Bacteria, Biotech & Big Bucks.”   The subject of  genetic engineering is not new.  It has for some centuries intrigued and disturbed writers and scientists.   Kersten started  with examples of genetic engineering we take for granted,   looking at dog breeding and orange carrots.  Understanding of genetics i.e. how reproduction works,   came with Gregor Mendel’s experiments with peas but  it was not until the discovery of the structure of  DNA by Watson and Crick that scientists understood how heredity works.  His diagrams of DNA showed sections which could be cut out and normal chromosomes which could be inserted if necessary.  This gave hope of a cure for many hereditary diseases but   gave rise to work in human reproduction.  Interfering in the design of human beings and crops raises ethical issues and  rings alarm bells.    Stringent safeguards  could slow down much needed medical developments such as those in Diabetes and Sickle Cell Disease but genetically engineered crops  and  drugs  can be lucrative for big business hence the “Big Bucks” of the title.   Science presents us with moral dilemmas and Kersten reminded his audience that he was presenting information for them to consider before making their own judgment on the rights and wrongs of this modern technology.  This interesting  talk was followed by searching questions which raised further rather worrying issues. 

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Liz Wainwright   “Turning Ideas into Novels and Plays ”     29th  March 2017

Forum 2000  entered the creative world of a practising novelist when Liz Wainwright came to give a talk about her craft on March 29th .  She started with the distinct advantage, she said,  of having trained and worked as a translator which meant that she could organize language and edit her own writing.  Imagination however counted for more than the mechanics of writing and started with ideas which came from the experience of observing people and places in her own life.  She would remember a snatch of conversation or an arresting phrase and  build a character around it.  Her two skills as translator and writer came together in her radio drama about two French women in conflict which she wrote in French and translated so that the dialogue had the true French flavour.  She confines her stories to settings which she knows well.  Her Lynda Collins trilogy is based on her own experience growing up in a run-down pub and her aim is always to explore the psychology of her characters as they grow and develop as a result of the experiences of their lives.  The glamour of meeting  famous actors and directors might appeal but to Liz the real  appeal of writing novels and plays far out-weighs  that.  Actually sitting down and writing  is what  gives her intense satisfaction and she recommended her audience to try it for themselves.  

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Ian Holme  “Leeds textile and Clothing Industries.”     5th   April   2017

Forum 2000   members always welcome presentations from  members and they had an especially distinguished member as a guest on May 5th when Ian Holme spoke about his work in Textiles.  After 8 years in Courtaulds and 25 years in Leeds University- culminating in his receiving  the prestigious Warner Medal, he is now continuing to influence the world industry as  technical editor of   international “Dyer and Knitting International.”     Ian started the story of textiles with the mediaeval wool trade and his pictures then showed the many processes involved in turning wool into cloth through the ages.  It was interesting to see the social as well as technological  changes reflected in his pictures :   the first  showed   an orderly spacious  workshop with neatly dressed cloth- shearers at work;  the last an Italian automated mill with  only one operative  visible.  In between, the pictures were of men, women and children   in squalid conditions –dealing with vats full of urine in the fulling mill- or dwarfed by floors of huge machines.  The presentation covered  technological inventions, their inventors, the splendid and sometimes fantastic mills they designed e.g. the ecologically advanced grassed roof of Temple Mill with its sheep and domed skylights.  With the Cloth Halls and clothing factories  it was an exhaustive and fascinating  study of the textile industry and gave rise to  nostalgic comments from members whose grandparents had worked in the Leeds cloth and clothing industry. 

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Jocelyn Brooks    “Moscow and St Petersburg.”    12th   April   2017

Forum  2000 finished for Easter on 12th April  with a splendid presentation by Jocelyn Brooks, of Russia’s two capital cities : Moscow and St Petersburg which replaced it in Peter the  Great’s  time.    Jocelyn covered the history of both cities and the tsars who had built them. Her first visit had been as a member of The Young Farmers delegation.  The photographs from that time were in black and white and reflected the austerity of the period.   She experienced the drab  uniformity of communism under Stalin, the party line,  queues in GUM and the Lenin Mausoleum.  Her photographs then were black and white and the ornate churches had been turned into apartments and storage facilities.  Nowadays they have been restored and serve their original purpose and her modern pictures captured the barbaric splendor of the onion-domed buildings with their lavish decoration to be admired in Moscow.  St Petersburg, a jewel of renaissance architecture, built by Peter the Great was very different but lavishly ornamented.  The talk covered the history of Russia from the days of the Mongol invasions to the slaughter of the Royal Family and their interment in the Cathedral of St Basil with all their predecessors.  We heard the stories about Ivan the Terrible and Rasputin – gruesome details as well as glorious buildings. The pictures were magnificent and the audience was completely absorbed in the  detailed information Jocelyn conveyed  so effortlessly.   

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Maria Dragecevic   3rd   May   2017

Forum  2000  ended their Spring  Programme on   May 3rd when Maria Dragicevic  from West Yorkshire Trading Standards   talked  about “ Recognising Scams and Frauds.”  She covered a range of activities using the telephone ;   fraudsters  with offers of lucrative investments,  bogus calls pretending to be from internet servers alerting you to problems with your computer or calls as if from your bank, suggesting that you need to change   your bank account  In all of these she gave practical advice  reminding us to wait at least five minutes before ringing the bank to check.   Many of the audience had had examples of similar scams on their computers:  emails warning that your service contract  needs to be renewed  and will be cut off in 24 hours  if the money is not paid or strange emails from a friend saying nothing but possibly installing malware if not deleted.  Maria pointed out fraudsters pose as caring people and  often elderly,  isolated people become  attached to their new friend and refuse to listen to family, bank or police advice.  This is particularly true of scams coming through the letter box,  some in fact from reputable charities.  Maria’s vital role in protecting the community from fraud and saving some of the millions the Government admits goes to criminals, is funded by the Lottery and there is no guarantee that  it will be continued after next year.   

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Charles Sharp         20th September 2017

Forum  2000    started its new season with a local flavour when  Charles Sharp came to talk about his thirty seven years  at Smith’s Cranes in Rodley.  Having served his apprenticeship as a draughtsman,   he eventually became their Contract Manager.  There was little he did not know about either the engineering  or business side of the firm and his attachment to both was  clear.  The story that emerged provided a model  of how both industrialisation  and commerce/business  works. In 1820 a group of small time iron founders went into business providing machinery for the new mills being built in the area.  The firm prospered  and they diversified  into cranes for industry, mines, steel works, docks, eventually providing excavators for  huge enterprises such as  the Manchester Ship Canal and the Aswan Dam.   As a large and successful engineering firm they faced serious competition.  Nowadays we are used to takeovers and mergers,  and resulting job losses,  but Charles Sharp with his  loyalty to the firm  is clearly personally distressed by the thought that what used to be a major enterprise is now reduced to a small office in Yeadon. He reflected on the instances of personal concern his employers showed and the value of so many people  getting a living  and taking pride in their firm.   Perhaps the loss of these things is the price of progress.

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Dr Stephen Turnbull   North Korea  27th  September  2017

Forum  2000’s   speaker on September 27th was unable to come but fortunately Dr Stephen Turnbull stepped in to give a talk previously given in 2010,  about North Korea.  Today North Korea is  inaccessible but in 2010 Stephen was able to visit from Seoul for a day trip and his pictures    confirmed the impression  that  it is a very strange place.  Stephen began with a reminder of the history of Korea  starting with the invasion by the Japanese Empire in 1904 and with particular emphasis on its fate at the end of WW2.  Russia, China and America all had designs on it and it was salutary to be reminded that the present division into North and South Korea represents a truce in the war waged there in the fifties.  The  North is  still at war with the West.  In 2010 the relationship between North and South had become warmer and the North benefited from industrial investment by the South but the days of such co-operation are over now that Kim Jong Un is leader.  The contrast between North and South could not be greater-the one bare of livestock and with few cars or people around;  the other with skyscrapers and every sign of a bustling vibrant economy.  The   discussion after the talk  reflected the sense of bafflement which even the interesting and informed presentation could not dispel.

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Paul Rogers     The Edwin Barlow Memorial Lecture   4th October 2017

Forum  2000. On October 4th   Paul Rogers   gave  the Edwin Barlow Memorial Lecture.   He named three threats to peace: global injustice ;  nuclear war and climate change.    North Korea is the new nuclear threat.   Only  nuclear weapons can give Kim Jong Un and his people status and bargaining power.  He takes at face value Trump’s blustering about destroying North Korea while  older Nuclear states see these weapons as expensive and difficult to manage, building up alternative defence systems and trying to enrich their economies.  For example Paul pointed out the difficulties the UK faces in maintaining its fleet.  The use of nuclear weapons is unthinkable. A worse danger is the threat from  ISIS.  The enemy is not afraid to die and is prepared to  wait centuries for victory.  It recruits from  the despairing  all over the world who have nothing to live for.  Until economic justice prevails globally,   and people feel their government is looking after them,  terrorists will not be defeated.  That means an end to corruption, including corrupt capitalist practices which profit  only the rich.    Most dangerous of all however is the threat from the natural world presented by global warming.  Apocalyptic as this may seem Paul gave some very positive reasons for being hopeful.  Alternative means of getting power- wind turbines and solar power are now economically viable and despite Trump even America is adopting them.  Things are not as bad as they seem.

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 AGM and Linda Jenkinson  – “  Start Birding in Leeds.”  11/10/17

Forum  2000 held its AGM on 11th October 2017.  The Chairman, Hilary Taylor reported that the year had been a good one with 28 talks on varied subjects some, quite challenging but all    enjoyable.  Four of these had been by members of Forum 2000.  She thanked everyone for making the Forum such a friendly and welcoming  place and always  providing interesting and demanding questions.   The trip to Parliament, having been cancelled because of the snap  election, would go ahead in Spring  2018.  The Treasurer reported a strong financial position,  despite making charitable  donations   to those speakers who do not charge a fee, amounting overall to £725.00.  He expressed satisfaction with the rise in attendance to a weekly average of 78.  He was happy to continue in office for another year but felt this should be his last.  The AGM was followed by Linda Jenkinson, a teacher on birds and green spaces speaking about the birds of the Lower Aire Valley.  This was a most interesting talk,  dealing not only with descriptions of birds but also covering equipment, clothing advice,   and areas to explore.  It was so good in fact that at the end members asked if she could make a return visit in the future for a whole session as the time allocated because of the AGM was too short.

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 Dr Michael Green  on 18th  October 2017

Forum 2000 always thrills   to Professor Mike Green’s factual and gruesome presentations so they welcomed his return on 18th October  with “ Broomsticks, Brews, Witches & Wizards.”  In fact what emerged was a serious history of witches   starting with the Witch of Endor who appears in the Old Testament and the worship of Astarte in Persia.  In the West, fear of witches and persecution of those suspected of witchcraft seems to have developed as part of a strategy by conquerors to root out old religions by demonizing those practising them as happened with the publication of the witch-hunter’s almanac “Malleus Maleficarum”  which saw magic as a form of heresy, which was the used by Luther, King James and Matthew Hopkins,  the Witch- Finder General in their search for witches.  Professor Green explained the motives behind the witch haters.  When things went wrong people looked for a scapegoat.  If you were different from every one  else – with a harelip or having fits or just being poor and ugly- you were probably like that because God disapproved of you and your wickedness and you were a witch.  He went into the nasty tests used to prove the guilt of witches, sticking pins into them, or seeing if the devil would stop them from drowning when they were ducked in the pond.  He also looked at more mercenary motives quoting  “The Crucible”  where  like the Salem Witch Trials  the accusers eventually acquired the estates of the accused.  This talk was packed with interesting material and as always was funny as well as learned.

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Jack Metcalfe   “Chippendale Unstuck”   25th October 2017

Forum 2000  once again enjoyed a talk from a fellow member when Jack Metcalfe spoke about his work as a marqueteur in “Chippendale Unstuck.”  Next year sees the tercentenary of Thomas Chippendale and this will be celebrated with exhibitions by Leeds Museum and The Chippendale Society, not to mention the stately homes in Yorkshire full of his furniture.  Chippendale was a master not only of carving and design but also of  Marquetry.  Jack spoke about his commission to create a replica of a table originally designed for the circular Dressing Room at Harewood House.  This had been relegated to a loft when the building was altered and found   recently   in a sorry state.  It has now been restored but like other 18th century furniture it has lost its original colour.  Analysis of the original dyes  allowed Jack to create new veneers using Chippendale’s methods.  He described every time-consuming  process, including tracking down berberis wood in a friend’s garden to get a bright yellow veneer and using special glues not to mention poisonous potions for the dyes.  When displayed next to the genuine article, Jack’s replica   will demonstrate  not polished chestnut veneers  but pretty delicate  pastels as Chippendale designed them.  The replica will have pride of place in next year’s exhibitions.  This was a fascinating talk covering not only the  history of marquetry  but also that of Chippendale and his period.

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 Giles Blackburne     China On Our Doorstep    November 1st 2017

Forum 2000 welcomed Dr Giles Blackburne,  Executive Director of the  Confucius Centre, Leeds University on November 1st who talked about China and the prospects and challenges it presents for the UK.  At one time China shunned contact with the West but adopted a “Go Global” policy at the beginning of the new century.  To transform  the nation  rapidly and build an industrial society providing jobs and bringing in income by selling abroad,  they imported   raw materials on a vast scale and also skills from the developed world.   The plan to open up a trading network  led to the Belt and Road initiative.  China would ensure she had an immense area to trade in, which  entailed  investing in  a new Silk Road on land with the most up to date infrastructure,  as well as a Maritime Silk Road with shipping and ports.  Entering the financial markets also now means that shortly China will be the most powerful economic  force in the world after the US and possibly in time including the US.   In the UK there is no bar to China’s  buying properties and businesses, even such vital ones as nuclear power but it is questionable whether it is good to have a foreign power    influencing  our economy.  particularly a power  controlled by one person      not accountable to anyone.  As a trading competitor constantly having to alter   policies, to placate an electorate, unions  and back benchers,  Britain might in the future find herself at a  disadvantage where China is concerned

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Ben Cleverly and Ged Noonan  “Inventing The future”  November 8th  2017

Forum 2000  had a most informative and enjoyable morning on November 8th when Ben Cleverley  and Ged  Doonan   talked about “ Inventing the Future.”   Ged, Ben’s predecessor at Leeds Library, explained that   Intellectual Property covers Trademarks, Patents, Registered Designs and Copyright.    His department in Central Library is the national archive used by universities, state departments, lawyers,  businesses and anyone wanting to register an invention. And they offer help and advice to novice inventors.   The first patent recorded was in 1422 when Brunelleschi registered his invention to transport stone to build the Cathedral in Florence.  Ged explained the idea of officially claiming the right to your ideas so that only you can profit from them though you can let other people use them by paying you for a licence.  All the categories mentioned above are really covered by this idea of sole right to your own ideas.  Some of the patents shown were comical like the device for spinning women in labour to make giving birth easier, but the silly idea of sun glasses for dogs proved to have a serious military use.  Trademarks were more complicated.  A  tin of soup involved many trademarks: the tin, the name,  different parts of  the design of the label   etc all had their own copyright.  Anecdotes about Dolly the cloned sheep featured among a wealth of interesting and amusing illustrations.  A wide range of interesting information and many funny stories made for a very good morning.

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Jocelyn Brooks “Aspects of Turkey.” November 15th   2017  

Forum 2000  had to find a substitute speaker on November 15th  when Rachael Unsworth was unable to come because of family illness.  She will be coming on February 7th  2018 instead.   Fortunately Jocelyn Brooks was able to replace her and took the Forum on  a wonderful tour of the varied and interesting sights of ancient and modern Turkey starting in Istanbul.  She showed beautiful photographs of Santa Sophia which with the fall of Constantinople became first a mosque and then a nineteenth century  museum.   Because Islam forbids representations of living beings glorious mosaics were given stone facing which was removed when it became a tourist attraction.  Jocelyn sketched in the historical background so that the talk brought in Troy, the Roman,   Byzantine, and   Ottoman empires as well as the conflicts in more modern times as the Ottoman Empire fell victim to the greed of the European empire builders: Germany, France and Britain as well as Russia.  Jocelyn had started with the information that Turkey has 8 borders to police and through which the trade that enriched her flowed and reference to The Crimean War reminded members that this area is still a zone worth possessing as Putin showed.  But seeing the amazing calcification in Cappadocia reminded one of Bible times as well.  Covering such a range of areas, civilizations and spectacular scenery was a challenge which was triumphantly met by this very gifted  speaker.    

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Des Hurley “Untold Stories” 22nd November 2017

Forum 2000 had two for the price of one on 22nd November when there were two different presentations. Des Hurley, from the Irish Arts Foundation with colleague Chris O’Malley, talked about the experiences of Irish people who came after the war looking for work. They settled in the centre of Leeds, in New York Road, Harehills areas. While Des and Chris spoke, the screen showed pictures of the places and events bringing back memories of the fifties and sixties: a mixture of family celebrations, May processions and historic buildings. Many among the audience remembered the pubs swept away in the new road systems. A telling feature was the juxtaposing of photographs of the busy city centre with country scenes in Mayo when people went home to visit families. What a culture shock those immigrants suffered. The two also played Jigs on fiddle and accordion which set feet tapping. After the break Alistair and Jonnie Brownlee came on their way to Bahrain to talk about their life as athletes and their work with the Brownlee Foundation set up to encourage youngsters of primary age to have a go at Triathlon. All they need is running kit and swimming costume; bikes, refreshments a goody bag, yoghurt and a medal are provided. Donations at the end were rewarded by yoghurt, courtesy of “The Collective” which sponsors the Brownlee Foundation. What a difference these Horsfordians have made to athletics and to the lives of many under-privileged children.

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 November 29th   2017  “The History of Tartan”    Uell Kennedy

Forum 2000 learnt about “The History of Tartan” on November 29th and expected to spend the morning with  Scottish history but in fact Uell Kennedy looked to India and Iraq for the origins of this very Scottish dress.  He had pictures of tartan fabric found in an Iraqi grave  dating to a period between 1200 and 700 BC as well as lengths   of check material he had bought in India of a type used to decorate the statues of goddesses.  His map  showed the distribution of Picts Angles and Scots when the Romans came  and suggested that   Picts originated in India and the Scots in Africa.  He then moved  to the tartan in Scotland.  The earliest material,  the Falkirk tartan was found  wrapping coins  in a Roman glass bottle  dating to the 4th century AD.   Uell explained how the kilt was made and the pleats measured with the “sett”,  the women who made them keeping their own   colour record.   He  described the ethnic cleansing under “Butcher Cumberland” when tartan was banned and  setts burned.   When the Act was repealed the Royal Family claimed tartan and it has prospered since.  He had brought his dress outfit with silver buckle and lace jabot   and a variety of kilts and tartans for people to inspect.  Revered in Scotland, tartan gave rise in Uell’s presentation  to many funny stories and pictures   as well as an amazing historical record. A really good  morning.  

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December 6th    2017       “ My Life as an Egghead.”   Barry Simmons

 A new world of quizzing opened for Forum 2000 when Barry Simmons one of the regular members of the TV Eggheads team came to talk about himself.  It was a surprise to learn that there  are national and international league tables and those like Barry in the top 40, work hard to reach and maintain professional excellence. A good memory is essential and as he gained a first class Chemistry Degree by cramming for six weeks at the end of  three years of idleness it is clear he has that.  His career in IT sharpened his wits and after retirement he dedicated himself to serious quizzing.  In a very entertaining talk Barry described his training technique, his tricks of the trade and the experiences and friendships which competing brought.  He reads two national papers a day and spends most of his time reading. Competing has taken him all over the world including appearing  at Caesar’s Palace.  There is a price to pay however: exams every month and a constant struggle to keep his position in the league table and doing five shows a day with constant changing of clothes and renewing of make up.  For  ardent fans of the programme his glimpse into the characters and backgrounds of his fellow eggheads was extremely interesting and made for a fascinating ending to the Autumn Programme.

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                                                                         2016

January   06  2016  Malcolm Johnson

Forum 2000   was eased into 2016 on January 6th   by a nostalgic and funny presentation by Malcolm Johnson : “Children’s Favourites.”  This was the title of a radio programme of the fifties.  After  “Family Favourites” and  “Forces Favourites”,  children eventually had their own programme at 10.00 am on a Saturday morning.   Malcolm played extracts from a range of records and his audience sang along to them protesting when they were cut off in mid song.  But more than that he had pictures and videos of the celebrities he mentioned – some of  them unfamiliar- like the voice of Donald Duck or the comic who sang “The Laughing Policeman”.  Many we had forgotten .: Shirley Abicair with her zither for exampbut as soon as we heard   “The runaway Train”  and “The Great Rock Candy Mountain”  we were taken back to those childhood days.    The presentation was brought to a conclusion with a rousing rendition,  complete with words on the screen,  of Tommy Cooper and,  “ Don’t jump off the roof  Dad.”

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January 13  2016                 Shirley Crawford

Forum 2000 enjoyed another chapter in the story of Shirley Crawford’s life in Uganda on 13th January.  She is now working with “The Blessed Child Foundation”  which provides support for Ugandan children with cancer.  In Uganda people do not think of cancer as a children’s disease and therefore even easily curable cancers prove fatal. She had pictures of grotesque tumours and spoke about the difficulties of getting treatment for her patients.  There is only one radiotherapy unit in Uganda and that is in the capital, Kampala, two hundred miles from Gulu.  Chemotherapy is available but  not the  anti-sickness  medicine  to help  children  cope with the poisonous drugs.   Hospital conditions are both primitive and expensive.  She told the story of Gloria who found herself  raising  her two brothers.  She grew food for them, working in a saw mill to raise funds for her own education.  An accident at work cost her her fingers because an incompetent surgeon’s poor work  had to be remedied.  The senior surgeon refused to complete the necessary amputation until paid.  Thanks to Shirley the money was found and the daily dressings saved what was left of her fingers.  It is strange that in that society girls are a valuable financial asset and their fertility gives men a chance to gain status for the virility.  An education can  open prospects of real prosperity for women but fathers see them as useful chattels and frequently deny them opportunities.  Shirley’s latest venture is a purpose built Children’s hospice so that those failed by lack of early intervention can at least spend their last days in dignity and with pain relief.  The presentation was heart-breaking but inspired the audience to dig deep to help fund this inspiring work.

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January  20 2016                               Martin Schweiger

Forum 2000  now knows  how to keep safe when  the Black Death next strikes in Horsforth.   Dr Martin Schweiger who  answered the question ‘Can we control epidemics?’ on January 20th,  examined the incidence of  epidemics from the Stone Age to the recent Ebola outbreak.  He started by talking about the costs of epidemics, not just the human costs in sadness and loss but economic ones as well.  If  half the work force is lost the economy suffers:   social upheavals follow such as the Peasant’s Revolt, the end of feudalism and the movement of the population into the towns.  They may well change the course of history.   Clearly they are a threat to human survival in more   ways  than one.    It is true  we have learnt to deal with infections by  isolating the carriers and stopping them from travelling,  but some diseases are spread  before symptoms show so it is not always possible to isolate in time.    Better hygiene,  drug therapy,  education may all help control outbreaks but  international controls prove difficult to apply in the day of airlines and easy travel.    He urged his audience to   accept vaccination where  possible.  When asked he admitted that sooner or later there would be a pandemic  and  that diseases resistant to antibiotics were already with us,  but research continues and  he reassured the audience that there are always some survivors.  It was an interesting morning.

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January  27 2016                                   Alan Pugh

Forum  2000 enjoyed Alun Pugh’s visit on 27th January,  despite his sombre subject  ‘Beckett Street Cemetery.’  Alan is Chair of  ‘Friends of Beckett Street Cemetery’ and a mine of information on the subject.  Opened in 1845 it was the  second  municipal cemetery in the country,  Hunslet  being the first.  Previously burials had to be in churchyards which filled up as towns attracted industrial workers.  Alan described   its  many features  including the common graves   for paupers, the guinea graves which allowed poor people to have their names recorded on a common tombstone  –  engraved on both sides.   Not everyone was poor however:   Sir John Barran, a wealthy manufacturer who donated Roundhay Park to the city, can be found here.     Private Robert Tottie, one of the Leeds Pals,    occupies one of the  70 Commonwealth War Graves but is not the only soldier – a survivor of the Light Brigade was eventually laid to rest here.  One of the more elaborate graves is that of Jabez Tunnicliff, Cemetery Superintendent and founder of the Leeds Band of Hope.  He was in charge of the Dissenters’  half of the cemetery with its own Lodge ;  the Anglicans with their Lodge occupied the other half.  With the Thackray Museum car park over the road it is a Leeds heritage site well worth exploring.

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 April 13 2016                     SUMA Rebecca Kinnard 

Forum  2000    members had the rare pleasure of learning about an organisation run by idealists and yet profitable.  Rebecca Kinnard, came on April 13th to talk about SUMA, of which she is a member.  Starting in a student flat in 1975 as a workers’ cooperative to source and supply vegetarian foods from ethical sources, it is now a huge complex in Elland working 24 hours a day to get orders out with a fleet of trucks and a workforce of 146 members.    When  members are accepted into the company they are trained in each of the five departments so that  they can take on any job and understand how the whole business works.  Every aspect of the  company is ethical.  They respect human rights, support Fair Trade,   care for the environment and  will not use damaging materials such as palm oil which is destroying the rain forests.  Closer to home, what amazed most people was that everyone from accountant to warehouse cleaner gets  the same wage and a bonus once a year.  SUMA is Europe’s largest equal pay employer and   £33,000   is a wage that all can live comfortably on.  Moreover the business provides free meals, including breakfast for everyone.  Since there are no shareholders and chief executives siphoning off  huge sums,  Suma has the money to support food banks and local environmental projects like tree planting in flood areas.  Everyone left determined to find SUMA products in Horsforth.

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April  20th   2016        Andy Wilson  ‘The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks’

Forum 2000  heard  the story of  ‘The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks’  on April 20th when Andy Wilson from Cancer Research in St James Hospital, paid a welcome return visit.  Henrietta  became immortal because hers were the first cells to survive  outside the body and made  possible  research on disease without danger to  life.  These  He La cells have continued to divide vigorously until the present day.    This happened in 1951 and the  firms involved in marketing these priceless cells made huge profits though  Johns Hopkins  and George and Mary Guy who did the research  made nothing.    The story,  written by Rebecca Skloot,   is an absorbing one with the right ingredients to keep you reading: the  setting -the American South-   suspense and drama and an inspiring central character, descended from slaves, who although poor,  enjoyed life  and having fun but was devoted to her family and suffered a particularly agonising death.  The drama and even skulduggery came about because Henrietta’s family did not find out what had happened to her cells until 1971  and then through an amazing coincidence at a New York dinner party.  The struggle to achieve recognition and compensation is interesting in itself  with its  final,  very satisfying  outcome,  the setting up of the Henrietta Lacks Foundation to provide free education and medical care for all her descendants.     A thrilling story plus  information about ongoing cancer research made an excellent morning.

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Report for   April  27  Kersten Hall- Visiting Fellow History of Science Dept, Leeds Univeristy.   ‘From Dark Satanic Mills to DNA

Forum 2000   members always like to  hear about outstanding people  connected  with Leeds and they were not disappointed on April 27th when Kersten Hall, a writer about the History of Science,  linked genes with textiles in ‘From Dark Satanic Mills to DNA’  The hero of his talk was  William Astbury  whose researches  into textile fibres during his 34 years in   Leeds led to his appointment  there as Professor of Biomolecular Structure.  He worked for a time with the Nobel Prize winners William and Lawrence Bragg whose work on   X-ray Crystallography  provided a tool for scientists to see  molecules  and break them down .  During his research on keratin in fibres,  Astbury  with his assistant, Florence Bell, photographed  the Double Helix which Rosalind Franklin later identified in her work with Watson and  Crick.  He   did not recognise the implications at the time but it was his work which laid the foundations for the   discovery of  the Double Helix, the structure of DNA and all that has followed from that.  He was equally influential in the wool research     he did with Martin and Synge, both Nobel Prize winners.   None of today’s work in microbiology would be possible without such scientists as Astbury whose crystallography made it possible to see molecules and atoms.

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Report for    May 4th    Earth’s Ice from Space  Andy Shepherd, Professor of Earth Observation, Leeds University

Forum 2000 talked science again on May 4th when the Professor of Earth Observation from Leeds University spoke about his work as   Principle Scientific Adviser to the European Space Agency and co-leader of the ESA-NASA Ice Sheet Mass balance Inter-comparison Exercise.  Exploration on land in the ice sheet  expands  our knowledge  but is hugely expensive and dangerous.    A satellite may cost  millions  but the information about climate  and the movement of water and ice it obtains is beyond price.  Using clips from a  disaster movie and models of Britain underwater as well as speeded up photographs of the ice   swirling round and constantly changing,   Andy   illustrated the  scientific processes he was explaining in an entertaining way  so that his audience learned the connection between the ice and  sea, the changes in which directly affect climate, ecology  and the human struggle to support life on our planet.   Climate change  is no longer a matter of speculation;  this research has provided evidence on which to base  our theories.     There were  searching questions which opened up further aspects of the subject.  It was a challenging morning but very rewarding.

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Report for    May  11th    ‘Referendum –Out or In’ Dr Simon Lightfoot, Senior Lecturer in European Politics,  Leeds University.

Forum 2000  members were fortunate enough to have a talk  on May 11th    which will help them to come to a decision when they vote in June.  Dr Simon Lightfoot’s aim was to deal with the facts   as  objectively  as possible – if an opinion should  slip out he stressed that it was his own and not the University’s.  He started with the history and organisation of the EU and the powers the UK retained. Many on the Brexit side forget  the benefits  belonging to the EU  has brought:  ‘What has the EU done for us?’  The Monty Python extract reminded us how we blind ourselves to reality   He also warned of the effect of the media  on our judgment;  adopting an adversarial approach rather than a consensus inflames emotions when cool reasoning is needed.  Most of the issues he discussed –bureaucracy,  immigration, expense, control of our own laws etc- are complex and oversimplification seriously misleads the public.  Simon having examined all the issues,  recommended voters to do their own research if they wished to vote responsibly.  The questioners, free from the need  for impartiality,  produced serious and forceful  arguments.  One retired scientist described the cooperation  between all European scientists  in sharing research  and quoted the amount  of  funding    coming from Europe to universities here.  Brexit for them would, according to him, be catastrophic.  The Forum waits with interest to hear Simon’s reflections when he returns on October 26. This return visit had to be cancelled since Simon’s timetable for the new term meant he was no longer free on a Wednesday morning.  

 

 Report for     21st September 2016 Stephanie Davies Our Cousin Florence

Forum  2000 enjoyed a talk about Florence Nightingale and her connection with Leeds Infirmary  in 2013  from Stella Butler, Leeds University Librarian.  On September 21st Stephanie Davies, a community curator from Lotherton Hall shed a very different  light on this iconic figure when she told the story of how  discovering a hoard of letters and other artefacts  in the attic of Trelissick House in Truro revealed a link  with the family at Lotherton Hall and identified people featuring in the Hall’s collection of portraits.  Florence and her cousins, particularly Marianne, were very close and from the letters and diaries which Stephanie uncovered emerged a picture of the young,  attractive and rich  Florence and her struggle to follow what she saw as a direct calling from God in the face of Marianne’s match-making.  Her travels, accomplishments and life  among the wealthy fashionable set make her later  life  seem even more remarkable.  Marianne  married Douglas Galton,  an engineer who advised Florence  in Scutari and  later in designing  hospitals , notably Leeds General Infirmary.   Their daughter Evelyne married a financier who bought Trelissick and her daughter, Gwendolyne married Colonel Gascoigne of Lotherton Hall.  Hence the close connection between Lotherton, Florence Nightingale and Trelissick.  Florence Nightingale’s achievements are well known but her private life and the intimate details of her close relationships with her cousin and nieces are only just emerging thanks to Stephanie Davies’s shrewd move in exploring the attics on her visit to Trelissick.

 Report for     28th  September 2016

Forum  2000 has seen several of Eric Houlder’s presentations over the years, covering archaeological digs he has worked on –Sutton Hoo, and Civil War battle sites-as well as the history of the Stage coach.  They have all been interesting and amusing talks with wonderful pictures.  “An Orcadian Odyssey” was more personal,  documenting as it did the journeys he and his wife Joan made to visit their family living in Orkney.  Eric is a fellow of the Royal Photographic Society and a BBC  photographer and as always  his pictures were  outstanding.   An added bonus this time was the quality of the light in a place further north than Moscow.   His Odyssey started with Autumnal tints in the Wild Cat Trail at Newtonmore.  Russet changed to the  sugar pink of their Mercedes, once owned by Mary Quant,  possibly  one of the more unusual  sights in the north of Scotland among the imposing  lochs and wild grandeur of the scenery.  It was a journey of contrasts:   Dunrobin Castle   a French chateau with an elaborate  garden was very different from painted Scandinavian  cottages or the succession of stone age settlements on bleak sea shores;  while the  Italianate nissen hut church,  painted by   Italian  PO’s was a  pretty and  exotic  contrast with solid St Magnus Cathedral,  its Norman  bulk transfused  in the glowing pink afternoon light.  Lots of boats, stormy seas,  terrifying cliffs, constant cold winds – a bird-watcher’s heaven!  It was   an   exhilarating morning.   October 12th  will start with the AGM then Nigel Birch will talk about “The History of the Jet Engine”   Forum 2000   meets on Wednesdays at 10.00 a.m. in The Grove Centre, New Street,  Horsforth  LS18 4BH.   The entry charge of £1.50 includes refreshments.   All  welcome.  Details: 0113 258 3521.

 Report for      5th October   2016

Forum  2000     saw a full house on October 5th for “A Muslim/Christian Dialogue when Dr Barbara Glasson, a Methodist Minister and Naweed Hussein an adviser to Kirklees Council supporting  job seekers, talked about their work at Touchstone in Bradford   working  to help very different communities understand one another and live in harmony. Touchstone provides a place for them to meet and listen   to one another –   “Listening for a change.”     .   Naweed talked about the Women’s carpet where women shared their ideas in a sociable way over the practical task of weaving a carpet, rather like a tapestry which recorded their  experience.  The growth of empathy and understanding was remarkable but so was the enhanced self confidence  of the women.     Questioners wanted to know if the men were joining in this process of  listening  and growing in  understanding.  Naweed spoke about the difficulties men had in holding discussions;  their experience is  to  accept  respectfully what they are told in the mosque without question whereas women  chat over their household tasks  in a far more relaxed way.  He deprecated the resulting repression while   defending the Muslim values  of respect for age and wisdom.    When questioned about the Middle East both Barbara and Naweed     stressed that violence arises from men  not from their religions which  teach mercy and peace.  Both  Barbara and Naweed   agreed that basically Christianity and Islam have much in common.

 Report for      12th October   2016

Forum 2000 held its AGM in the first part of the meeting on 12th October.  The Treasurer expressed satisfaction with  the Forum’s financial position with its Reserve Fund in excess of £3500,  but reported a substantial deficit caused by costs of a website and the 2015 decision on charity donations.  This had raised £610.00 for charity which could be afforded if  attendance numbers remained high and the  charge was increased to £2 .00.  This was agreed.  Following the AGM  Nigel Birch, a retired aeronautical Engineer with  Rolls Royce and  member of the Forum gave a talk on ‘The Jet Engine.’  Nigel opened with the science behind the design of the jet engine and then illustrated the history of the invention. His picture of Sir Frank Whittle  running a test in what looked like a garage said everything about the Government’s lack of interest in his work.     His German rival,   Hans von Ohain  had better backing.  With the coming of  WW2,  Whittle’s invention was developed in America where mass production  of the Gloster Meteor was vital in the defeat of Germany.  Nigel had archive pictures of test flights including the Flying Bedstead which  led to the Harrier Jump Jet as well as the Comet whose load was too small to compete with the American Boeing.   It was a fascinating talk for anyone interested in the romance of the aeroplane.

Report October 19th   “The Two Worlds of Libya” Professor Joyce Hill

Forum 2000  were given a new perspective on Libya when Professor Joyce Hill examined the  division to be found there of East and West  going back to ancient  times.  When exploring Iraq as a tourist it had occurred to her that here were two regions   very different in culture and language and further research convinced her that this had been so   since classical and pre-classical times.  Maps of the ancient world showed Greek conquests followed by Roman as well as the Egyptian,   Phoenician/  Carthaginian, regions; the later Roman provinces in the west  conformed to the imperial standard design.   Roman planners used a grid system and designed new  towns.   Whereas     eastern towns , like      Cyrene, a large sprawling town on a slope served by the harbour at Apollonia    seemed to have grown organically with newer Roman buildings to be found near old Greek temples. The Odeon, an open air arena for performing arts or politics,  had seats built into the hillside,  whereas in Roman Cities arenas were free standing.  Inscriptions in the east were in Greek, in the west Latin  and in overlapping areas    both  languages.  Even today Tripoli and Benghazi  are centres of very different regions. The question is whether they can be forced into  becoming  one  country.  An interesting and very relevant  talk and wonderful pictures.

Report October 26th 2016   “My Life as a Plane Ferry Pilot”    Brian Mellor

Forum 2000   member Brian Mellor, gave a talk on October 26th  about his life as a light aircraft  ferry pilot.  He did not wish to pose as a glamorous Airline Pilot but it was clear from the outline he gave , using  overhead projection, that his work was every bit as demanding as the latter’s.  Knowledge of routes, flight planning, management of weather, customs,  repairs,  Air Traffic Control  all had to be mastered but he also had to deal with the business side as well, dealing with ferry company owners etc.  Whereas an airline pilot covers the same routes and takes pretty well standard times, Brian had very varied destinations and  faced  problems such as being snowed up for 10 days in Iceland.  A more dangerous episode was when he was forced to ‘ditch’ in the sea near Hawaii and had to be rescued by helicopter.  Brian was able to show a video of the whole dramatic rescue as the scene was photographed by a USA coastguard plane and made the TV news the same night. These were challenges and hazards but he enjoyed them  and the opportunity to visit many interesting parts of the world.   It was an entertaining morning and  Forum 2000 looks forward to tapping into the talents of its members in future talks and welcomes suggestions for talks and speakers

 

Report November 2nd  2016 Dr Jordan Boyle – What and Where are Robots?

Forum 2000   discovered the answer to “What and Where are Robots?”  on November 2nd when Dr Jordan Boyle from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Leeds University came to Horsforth.  Jordan did his first degrees in Cape Town in Electrical Engineering,  working on locomotion and the processes of movement in machines.  He was then led    to explore how impulses in natural beings like the nematode worm worked,  finally taking    his PhD in Leeds,  linking electronics and Biology.  In the talk he concentrated on bio-inspired robotics, surgical robotics – including his own mechanical worm,  and robotic locomotion.  His definition of a robot underlined the key point that it could act independently , reacting to  information its sensors picked up and he listed the many areas in which robots could be found- surgery, vacuum cleaners in homes,  robots in pipes checking and repairing.  They can do work in environments hostile to human beings, as in Outer Space or uncongenial  e.g. fruit and vegetable harvesting.  He mentioned   the hazards as well as the benefits of using robots.   Job losses could destabilise society and  the wealth created would tend to go to the few leaving the majority  impoverished.  Another serious risk would be the use of this technology in war, drones for example.  Jordan showed  pictures of robots in action in surgery and  a series of amusing  and outlandish inventions.   It was an interesting morning packed with information and provoking some searching questions.

 

Report November 9th  2016  Paul Rogers     “Irregular Wars, ISIS, Elites and Revolts”

Forum 2000 members, undeterred by snow, heard Paul Rogers  deliver his “Edwin Barlow Memorial Lecture” on 9th November with his usual insight and clarity despite his two hour journey to Horsforth.   His theme was that the world was threatened by America’s,  failure to grasp leadership opportunities:  they could have guided Russia into new politics and economic improvement but failed;  they turned the support gained from 9/11 into universal condemnation for their handling of the results of the Iraq War and finally when cooperating with Russia against ISIS they might have restrained Putin and Assad had  Obama taken action.  The world now faces three major issues.  The first is  universal  economic injustice  especially in Africa.     Improved education had for some years  led to a growth   in qualified  people with disappointed  aspirations.  These  now  felt resentful and  marginalised.  The second issue was climate change:   growing drought in Africa has caused mass poverty and  marginalisation  of the population.  The final issue was the method adopted to cope with the challenges these two issues presented.  The USA did not understand how to defeat terrorists or win over  local populations terrorised by them.  Better management of security is now needed.  As for climate change, further global warming will lead to fires in tropical areas and the thawing of the permafrost-releasing methane into the atmosphere.   Recognising problems and finding answers like green energy might save us and our children.  Thanks to  Professor  Rogers we know the dangers.

Report November 16th   2016    “First Responders”  Dave Jones

Forum 2000 members  learnt on 16th November, what is involved when someone suffers a cardiac arrest.   Dave Jones, Yorkshire organiser for Yorkshire Ambulance Service First Responders came to talk  about the  work which clearly means everything to him.   He  has a genial expansive approach and a sense of humour which immediately put everyone at their ease.   Those who had done First Aid courses before, found procedures today much simpler.  The first priority is to keep the heart beating and circulating oxygenated blood to vital organs.  Having sent someone to phone for an ambulance and report back, and having   checked that the sufferer is not breathing and airways are clear,  you start cardiac compressions  yourself,  getting any bystanders to relieve you when you tire.   The Ambulance Service operator tells you where the nearest defibrillator is and gives you a code to open its container.  From opening the box onwards you just do what it tells you.  Dave gave detailed instructions but in fact the vital   message  was simple – keep the heart going until the defibrillator or medics take over.    Dave also mentioned the Voluntary First Responders Scheme started in Yorkshire.  Fully trained but voluntary responders  phone in when available and  can be deployed rapidly to nearby emergencies.  In fact,  thanks to Dave Jones, everyone in the hall felt they now had the confidence to respond and keep someone alive until help came.

Report November 23rd    2016    “  Charlotte Bronte and Education”  Janet Senior

Forum 2000 enjoyed a talk on November 23rd , not on Charlotte Bronte’s imagination or her qualities as a  novelist but on  education,   when Bradford historian, Janet Senior, member of the Bronte Society, spoke about “Charlotte Bronte and Education.”   Janet covered several aspects of the subject: the education Charlotte received, her experience as a teacher and her views on teaching as expressed in her letters.  All of these  bore fruit in her writing. Her first teacher was her  mother and  later her father introduced her to  a classical education.  Her sensibility and imagination were disciplined by the formal training  received at school and later in Belgium.   She loved learning but found teaching irksome.  Her letters,  quoted by Janet,  show her sharp insight into the psychology of both teacher and pupil which served her  well as a storyteller, but clearly reveal her distaste for the role of teacher.   This interesting  talk covered far more than education however.  It was full of intriguing glimpses of Charlotte’s life and character and the people who influenced her as a writer.  She emerged as a woman of strong views and  sharp tongue,  with iron determination to do her duty by her family despite the cost to herself, not at all the meek, timid little creature  her contemporaries saw.

Report    2016  30th November  “John Atkinson Grimshaw”  Eveleigh Bradford

Forum 2000’s programme this  session has ranged all over the world  but  in the last two weeks it has celebrated two famous Yorkshire figures, Charlotte Bronte last week and John Atkinson Grimshaw on 30th of November when Eveleigh Bradford, Librarian of the Thoresby Society gave a wonderfully illustrated lecture to a large audience in the Grove Centre, Horsforth.  In recent years Grimshaw’s  atmospheric paintings of city scenes  glowing in warm street lighting  have been very much admired and displayed  as prints in many homes so that his is a household name:  everyone knows it  while knowing  little about the painter.   Nothing could be more mundane than his early life.  A respectable railway clerk living in New Wortley, he aspired to be a painter and by the age of 26 came to public attention at the art exhibition to mark the opening of the Leeds Museum by the Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society.  His fortune was made and he joined the ranks of fashionable painters being associated with the Pre-Raphaelites and the Victorian avant garde, even for a time owning a studio in Chelsea.   Eveleigh Bradford’s subject, a member of the Romantic movement whose life has all the ingredients of a romantic novel, left few letters or records and remains, perhaps appropriately, a  somewhat enigmatic figure.

Report    2016  2nd December  “An Audio Visual  Presentation”   Eddie Spence FRPS

Forum 2000’s Autumn Programme finished on December 2nd  with an Audio Visual Presentation from Eddie Spence FRPS, President of Leeds Audio Visual group.   Eddie has a  wide variety of topics and chose to start with a popular local place, The Yorkshire Sculpture Park and in particular the exhibition of figures by Jaume Plensa.   The figures themselves were beautiful but intriguingly  were made from letters:  thought crystallised  in concrete form.  In his study of Pavarotti who was born in Modena, also the home of the Ferrari, Eddie cleverly linked his subject with the iconic racing car,  both supreme in their world.  Wonderful travel pieces followed including  Madrid and Toledo.  Works of art and great architecture feature  in  these.   Included in his list of presentations were unusual places  not always popular and well known.  Who would think of travelling to  Llubliana in Slovenia?  Yet it is  as  beautiful as  towns in Austria and the Jura Mountains rival the Alps as far as   winter sports is concerned.  How little one  really knows about the Europe we are so anxious to leave.      Johnny Cash in ‘Sunday Morning’ revealed San Diego’s  elegant houses and the gentle stroll through the area created a wonderfully relaxed mood.  Members of the audience had the chance to choose from Eddie’s list and thoroughly enjoyed this ‘Lollipop’ to end the term.

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2015

7/01/ 2015  Geoff Druett  ‘We never close.’

Forum 2000 started 2015 on 7th January with a talk by Geoff  Druett who retired ten years ago from a high profile job as a television  presenter and reporter.  Having enjoyed a life in the limelight, recognized wherever he went, Geoff decided to give something back to society by  volunteering for a charity which values anonymity above everything, The Samaritans.  His title ‘We never close’ may seem frivolous with its connection with The Windmill  Theatre in  wartime, but the work itself could not be more serious.  Geoff described the history of the organization, its training methods,  the experience of working with desperate people,  the support systems for the volunteers doing this very often distressing work and the other means Samaritans has adopted to reach  suicidal people.  Working at the end of a telephone is  only one way to get help where it is needed:  they also go out  the community making themselves available in places where desperate people are liable to be found for example at festivals and in prisons.  They run training courses in colleges and recommended on occasion to students studying psychology.  In prisons they train prisoners to become ‘listeners’ able to be a steadying influence, providing a non-judgmental and sympathetic ear for those upset and unhappy or lonely.  Staff training is also helping to reduce suicide numbers.    Many of his audience may well have been inspired by Geoff  Druett’s sincerity and eloquence to come forward for training and all  wanted to respond by helping to fund what is a very costly scheme to run.

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14/01/2015  Andy Millard     “What Price a Newt?”

Forum 2000  learned the real significance of  the natural world  in our lives on 14th January when Andy Millard, Senior Lecturer in Ecology at Leeds Beckett University,   asked:  ”What Price a Newt?” .  The  Great  Crested Newt of the title  is part of a  system of dependence, a change in one element, its breeding pond lost to human development,  has a knock-on effect the results of which are far-reaching.   Andy developed his theme  of  mutual  dependence between human beings and their environment with a fascinating lecture and a good PowerPoint with a  balance of statistics and splendid pictures.  He cited the  drying up of peat bogs to exploit the peat which causes flooding as there is nothing to absorb the run-off .   A press outcry greeted a scheme to restore  salt  marshes to absorb excess water,   as putting birds before people.     Further afield he cited the use of  Diclofenac in India.  The residue in dead livestock  poisoned  vultures,   who scavenged carcases.   The state then had to pay  to dispose of these;   numbers of wild dogs and deaths   from rabies increased  and   sellers  of hide and bones faced penury.  Vultures were not just there for bird-watchers to admire:  they were a vital part of the local economy.  Enlightened management  of  resources  pays.  New York has a partnership with  landowners to farm naturally so New York  does not have to pay to filter their water.  Pesticides  in China wiped out bees and now they pay for hand pollination.   Andy’s work is vitally important.

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21/01/2015  Roger Dedman     “The Rise of the Post Office”

Forum 2000 enjoyed a quick canter through  centuries of letter-sending in an enjoyable account of “The Rise of the Post Office”  given by Roger Dedman on January 21st.  Starting with Xerxes and the story of Esther through Roman times, Henry VIII and finally arriving at 2015,  his talk was a treasury of fascinating facts about every aspect of the postal service.  Letters were originally sent by rulers and dealt with matters of state – diplomatic negotiations, or as a means of controlling the armies which policed their empires,  In  16th century England ,   Henry VIII appointed a Master of the Posts whose job was to organize   the passage of mail between London and key points i.e. ports and major cities in posts or stages a horse could manage.  From then on a postal service with stage coaches and later railways emerged.  Roger had information about stamps, franking, pillar boxes telegrams and telephones, in fact every aspect of the Post Office.  It was truly an encyclopaedic   lecture by someone with a collector’s passion for detail.

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28/01/2015  Professor Anne Chamberlain        “ Rehabilitation Medicine”

Forum 2000 turned out in torrential rain on January 28th to listen to Anne Chamberlain, Professor of  Rehabilitation  Medicine and Rheumatology at Leeds University until she retired in 2007, talk about her work as leader of a charity “Opt In” – Overseas Partnering and Training Initiative.   She leads a team of colleagues  as part of overseas development, training medics-both doctors and physiotherapists,  in an area of medicine which gets little publicity but gives people back their mobility and their lives.  Disabilities arise from such conditions as: club foot, cerebral palsy, spinal cord damage, TB  and stroke, but of course there are other causes of disability such as blindness which also require rehabilitation.  Madagascar has a history of coups and poor and corrupt government so that for most people medical treatment is unaffordable.  It was chosen for the training scheme despite language difficulties-French rather than English is spoken there- because one of the international team, Dr Sonia Andrianabela, had the status and administrative skills to get support for the project and moreover the people coming forward for training were committed and it was clear that they would carry on the work once started.    Anne’s film showed people living in an island paradise, the biggest island in the world with a level of disability to match-one in seven is disabled.   The audience enjoyed  the presentation and  fully supported  Professor Chamberlain’s charity.

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6/12/2015

Forum 2000  ended 2015 in style with mince pies and no entrance charge.  Mark Saville took his audience  ‘Through the year in Horsforth’  to see beautiful landscapes and strange and sometimes exotic ceremonies.  We associate Morris Men with idyllic southern villages but they are alive and dancing in the North.   As well as dancers there were mummers.  In Knaresborough the Knaresborough Mummers smeared with coal dust and costumed visited the pubs before Christmas.  On Twelfth Night again in strange costumes  the Long Mummers visited Ripponden.  Many of the ceremonies with their fires and fireworks are the relics of pagan times and brighten up the dismal cold winter.  T’Aud Hoss at Richmond parading through the town accompanied by  singing huntsmen reminds one of the Cornish hobby horses and of Shakespeare’s lament for the good old days of the hobby horse, a reminder that  we share a common heritage with  people in the rest of the country.  Apart from the festive sports and fairs, all free entertainment,  Mark showed rhubarb being forced in Wakefield and gooseberries at Egdon Bridge.   In fact many agricultural shows were glimpsed  including the Great Yorkshire Show.  In dreary weather  this was a chance to take note of all the treasures we have in the county and to resolve to go and see them for ourselves.

                                                             ************************

25/11/2015

Forum 2000 members  sat back on November 25th  and enjoyed an Audio Visual Presentation  given by Eddie Spence, FRPS,  the Treasurer of Leeds Audio Visual Society.He had an extensive and varied list of topics and having played one or two including “Lowry”,  allowed his audience to suggest their favourites.  His presentations reveal the artist’ s eye as well as the  craftman’s skills.    His “Lowry” was   autobiographical in that it did  cover the details of his life,  but it was much more than that.  It presented the scenes which had inspired him   making  you feel his emotions as he viewed landscapes so that his personality emerged throughout the presentation.  The same thing occurred when he filmed  historical or tourist places  Menorca, or Wharfedale    only in those cases you felt Eddie’s own appreciation of the colour and spirit of the place.    “ Letters of the Alphabet”,  which he photographed in the Yorkshire Sculpture Park,  showed amazing sculpture created out of letters of many languages, frozen speech in beautifully realised human forms.   “Isadora Duncan”  caught the fluidity of the great dancer’s movement, but  also told the story of her  exotic life and tragic death.    We visited an elegant American colonial town in “Sunday Morning”  and the grotesque architecture in “Barcelona”.  The programme had great variety and was not a travelogue ;  in each place Eddie caught some feature which caught his imagination;  we saw with his eyes.

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18/11/2015

Forum 2000 members   went to war again on November 18th when Malcolm Oxley presented  “Paintings and Painters of WW1.”   Malcolm used pictures from the  Renaissance, the Enlightenment and onwards  as an interesting introduction to and contrast with  WW1 painters.  He showed how early painters glorified war and its leaders and  avoided real wounds and gore.  The horrors experienced in WW1 could not be ignored.  In 1917 Charles Masterman ,  appointed  to the Bureau of Propaganda    recruited  artists to  paint scenes of the war.  From among these Malcolm selected  four of the leading artists of the time,  William Orpen, Wyndham Lewis, Paul Nash and  CRW  Nevinson  as examples of  the notable art produced in WW1.  Orpen was a conventional  society painter but the others belonged to the modernists influenced by continental movements such as Cubism.   He  talked about  their vision of  modern   dehumanising society.   – men   becoming machines.  This idea  they  took to the war and their pictures reflected it at first. Later, however the reality of the suffering they saw changed their response and the true horror and desolation emerged in    “Gassed”  for example, painted by another of the WW1 artists, John Singer Sargent.  Pictures still showed the influence of Futurism: for example the stretcher bearer in a gas mask who resembled Robot Drill shown earlier.  This presentation described and illustrated  a range of schools of painting linked by the theme of  war, placing English modern painters in their context, perhaps not matching the great masters  but finding  truth  in their subject matter.

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11/11/2015

Forum 2000 members came early on November 11th to make sure of a seat when Paul Rogers, Emeritus Professor of Peace Studies at Bradford University came to deliver The Edwin Barlow Memorial Lecture : “ Islamic State: What Does it Mean?”    He looked at the nature of Isis and its   history  and then outlined  the reasons for its success.    Its power lies in many factors: the motives behind the movement which make  it so difficult to overcome;  the tactical skills of its  leaders;  its lack of a base which can be destroyed by conventional warfare – its infiltration throughout the West making  it  difficult to target;       the incompetence of  its  enemies who do not begin to understand the battle they are fighting and who have made Isis richer and better equipped  both with weapons and personnel  with every step they have taken.  Perhaps the most important factor   is  the existence of a  “ proxy war” between Iran and Saudi.   The situation seems desperate since Isis realises that the Western powers have no insight into the political situation or the  possibilities of guerrilla warfare  and can be continually  provoked   into  futile and expensive gestures.  The only possibility of a solution is, according to Paul Rogers, through diplomacy,  by  getting  all the powers concerned , including  Saudi and Iran, to meet and  talk.   This summary does not do justice to the scope of Professor  Rogers’  talk  packed with  illustrative detail and exact references yet fluent and entirely  engrossing the attention of the audience.

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4/11/15

Many Forum 2000 members have grandchildren and were personally interested in the work prospects for school leavers.  Sue Wynne’s talk “Youth Unemployment –  Supporting successful transition from school to work”  was therefore  particularly welcome.  Sue is the Chief Officer of Employment and Skills at Leeds City  Council.  She has the task of applying national and regional agendas   in her area.  Her presentation showed the facts and figures of benefit claims and work poverty in Leeds.  Although Leeds is a successful city with a good record as far as employment is concerned there is still work to be done to raise  skill levels.   This is Sue’s remit.   Apprenticeships are available  for which young people  can apply using  the internet.  Being awarded an apprenticeship  can start someone on the path to well paid  employment.  Not only are they given the skills their chosen work demands but they are also taught  the behaviour demanded in an interview and in the world of work.  Applicants can view DVDs which show what happens to those who are accepted on Apprenticeship schemes.    The example shown was a scheme to train legal apprentices in the firm they will eventually work for as solicitors.  How the system works with plumbers and bricklayers was another matter and the feeling was that  large businesses could manage the cost involved but    small firms could not.  Question time was limited as Sue had to leave at 11.20.

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11/11/15

Forum 2000 members came early on November 11th to make sure of a seat when Paul Rogers, Emeritus Professor of Peace Studies at Bradford University came to deliver The Edwin Barlow Memorial Lecture : “ Islamic State: What Does it Mean?”    He looked at the nature of Isis and its   history  and then outlined  the reasons for its success.    Its power lies in many factors: the motives behind the movement which make  it so difficult to overcome;  the tactical skills of its  leaders;  its lack of a base which can be destroyed by conventional warfare – its infiltration throughout the West making  it  difficult to target;       the incompetence of  its  enemies who do not begin to understand the battle they are fighting and who have made Isis richer and better equipped  both with weapons and personnel  with every step they have taken.  Perhaps the most important factor   is  the existence of a  “ proxy war” between Iran and Saudi.   The situation seems desperate since Isis realises that the Western powers have no insight into the political situation or the  possibilities of guerrilla warfare  and can be continually  provoked   into  futile and expensive gestures.  The only possibility of a solution is, according to Paul Rogers, through diplomacy,  by  getting  all the powers concerned , including  Saudi and Iran, to meet and  talk.   This summary does not do justice to the scope of Professor  Rogers’  talk  packed with  illustrative detail and exact references yet fluent and entirely  engrossing the attention of the audience.

******************************

18/11/15

 

Forum 2000 members   went to war again on November 18th when Malcolm Oxley presented  “Paintings and Painters of WW1.”   Malcolm used pictures from the  Renaissance, the Enlightenment and onwards  as an interesting introduction to and contrast with  WW1 painters.  He showed how early painters glorified war and its leaders and  avoided real wounds and gore.  The horrors experienced in WW1 could not be ignored.  In 1917 Charles Masterman ,  appointed  to the Bureau of Propaganda    recruited  artists to  paint scenes of the war.  From among these Malcolm selected  four of the leading artists of the time,  William Orpen, Wyndham Lewis, Paul Nash and  CRW  Nevinson  as examples of  the notable art produced in WW1.  Orpen was a conventional  society painter but the others belonged to the modernists influenced by continental movements such as Cubism.   He  talked about  their vision of  modern   dehumanising society.   – men   becoming machines.  This idea  they  took to the war and their pictures reflected it at first. Later, however the reality of the suffering they saw changed their response and the true horror and desolation emerged in    “Gassed”  for example, painted by another of the WW1 artists, John Singer Sargent..  Pictures still showed the influence of Futurism: for example the stretcher bearer in a gas mask who resembled Robot Drill shown earlier.  This presentation described and illustrated  a range of schools of painting linked by the theme of  war, placing English modern painters in their context, perhaps not matching the great masters  but finding  truth  in their subject matter.

*****************************

25/11/15  

Forum 2000 members  sat back on November 25th  and enjoyed an Audio Visual Presentation  given by Eddie Spence, FRPS,  the Treasurer of Leeds Audio Visual Society.He had an extensive and varied list of topics and having played one or two including “Lowry”,  allowed his audience to suggest their favourites.  His presentations reveal the artist’ s eye as well as the  craftman’s skills.    His “Lowry” was   autobiographical in that it did  cover the details of his life,  but it was much more than that.  It presented the scenes which had inspired him   making  you feel his emotions as he viewed landscapes so that his personality emerged throughout the presentation.  The same thing occurred when he filmed  historical or tourist places  Menorca, or Wharfedale    only in those cases you felt Eddie’s own appreciation of the colour and spirit of the place.    “ Letters of the Alphabet”,  which he photographed in the Yorkshire Sculpture Park,  showed amazing sculpture created out of letters of many languages, frozen speech in beautifully realised human forms.   Isadora Duncan  caught the fluidity of the great dancer’s movement, but  also told the story of her  exotic life and tragic death.    We visited an elegant American colonial town in “Sunday Morning”  and the grotesque architecture in “Barcelona”.  The programme had great variety and was not a travelogue ;  in each place Eddie caught some feature which caught his imagination;  we saw with his eyes.

*******************************

2/12/15

Forum 2000  ended 2015 in style with mince pies and no entrance charge.  Mark Saville took his audience  ‘Through the year in Horsforth’  to see beautiful landscapes and strange and sometimes exotic ceremonies.  We associate Morris Men with idyllic southern villages but they are alive and dancing in the North.   As well as dancers there were mummers.  In Knaresborough the Knaresborough Mummers smeared with coal dust and costumed visited the pubs before Christmas.  On Twelfth Night again in strange costumes  the Long Mummers visited Ripponden.  Many of the ceremonies with their fires and fireworks are the relics of pagan times and brighten up the dismal cold winter.  T’Aud Hoss at Richmond parading through the town accompanied by  singing huntsmen reminds one of the Cornish hobby horses and of Shakespeare’s lament for the good old days of the hobby horse, a reminder that  we share a common heritage with  people in the rest of the country.  Apart from the festive sports and fairs, all free entertainment,  Mark showed rhubarb being forced in Wakefield and gooseberries at Egdon Bridge.   In fact many agricultural shows were glimpsed  including the Great Yorkshire Show.  In dreary weather  this was a chance to take note of all the treasures we have in the county and to resolve to go and see them for ourselves.

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2014

 

Report    19th   November 2014  Heather O’Donnell

Forum 2000  members enjoyed an interesting morning on 19th November when Heather O’Donnell  came to talk about Age UK Leeds of which she is the Chief Executive.  She explained the relationship with Age UK England.:  the Leeds group is independent but tenders for some of the national funding for particular promotions.   Money donated to Leeds Age UK stays in Leeds and benefits Leeds people. Started in 1975 by a group working with the Quakers, it became Age Concern Leeds in the eighties and bought the Bradbury building, a former grade 2 listed chapel.   Age Concern did the same work as Help the Aged  and so they merged in 2009 as Age UK.  Heather then detailed their  aims, services and current campaigns – information to illustrate her points was available on display for people to take away.  The aim is to help old people to maximize their income and have access to activities  to improve health and welfare  and improve skills e.g. digital technology.  Of particular interest was the advocacy service which is independent and  part of a consortium- Advonet.    They also aim to remedy social isolation, improve mental health, support people leaving hospital and with Macmillan Nursing meet the isolation men suffer in Prostate Cancer Support.  Perhaps the best known facility however was The Archway Café.  Many of the audience enthusiastically paid tribute to the excellence of the  food, the setting and the kindness of the staff.  It was an interesting morning with much valuable information imparted.

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Report  for   Nov 26 2014 Malcolm Oxley

Forum 2000  had a change of  subject  on November 26 when Malcolm Oxley  talked  about “Turner in Yorkshire”.    Malcolm Oxley,  an eminent historian and art critic  explained why Turner  is the greatest of English painters.  He placed him as a revolutionary in a historical  context:   when  English painters were provincial, painting for a  domestic market,  he took landscape and transformed it into something historical, sublime, morally improving, part of European culture;   water colour became a medium for great art not a young lady’s accomplishment;  he used new techniques of applying paint;  most important of all, he was able to illustrate light and atmosphere so that it became a form in its own right.   Farmed out as a child to various relatives,  the rest of his life was spent travelling.  His  employment by a fashionable psychotherapist led to his meeting Edward Lascelles and work at Harewood and  later Farnley Hall  where he stayed every summer with the radical Walter Faulkes.  Malcolm showed how Turner used  Yorkshire landscapes as settings for his heroic subjects,  embellishing them to increase their sublimity.   According to Malcolm,  Turner was revolutionary in life as in art.  He may have mixed with the nobility but in life style he was a tradesman and unconventional in that he had liaisons but never married.  It was a fascinating presentation and  many of the audience  felt inclined to follow Malcolm’s advice and visit the exhibition at Tate Modern which he recommended.

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Report    Dec 3 2014    Dr Christine Alvin

Forum 2000 once  again discovered a long-forgotten Yorkshireman whose name at one time was  a household word, when Dr Christine Alvin, Chief Librarian at Bradford Hospitals Trust and a lecturer at The Thackray Museum,  spoke about Sequah  1857- 1924,  an American Indian medicine man skilled in treating common ailments such as rheumatism.  Her illustrations showed posters for meetings  which attracted many thousands of  spectators curious to see his powers.  He was a combination of a modern pop star and a religious revivalist and made a fortune out of the medications he sold.  He was also  said to be uncommonly generous, giving much of his money away, though Dr Alvin had been unable to find any evidence of his donations.  What she was describing was the  typical quack doctor, able to charm money out of gullible fools throughout the ages, but the fact that he cashed in on the popularity of American Wild West shows by dressing himself as an Apache and showing cowboys on his labels was unusual,  especially as he was born in Silsden and really called Henry Hartley.  He was very handsome and with his charisma would have gone far in the modern media. It is intriguing that there is solid evidence of his fame and he travelled the world to Australia as well as America,  but no accounts exist of  his travels or  his personal life and he died alone and forgotten in 1924.

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