iU3A News

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Autumn 2021

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                           RECENT NEWS

1st Year Renewers Event
              Year RenewersRecently an event was held targetted at our newest members (those who joined last year). It was an opportunity for them to provide feedback on their first year — what was good, what was not so good. It was also an opportunity to try to encourage them to take part in running their u3a — to help in some small way. All said that they had enjoyed the event and the chance to chat to other new members. Some longer term members who were current volunteers also attended, to explain how they helped out and how they enjoyed supporting iU3A.

We hold our Annual General Meetings in November. In 2022 we held it as a face to face meeting. Full information on both meetings held and information of the resolutions passed can be seen here.

u3a Week
              Week TTTIn 2023 Islington u3a joined in the cross London 'Table Tennis Turnout'. The invite to particpate in this regional event was open to all London u3as. 27 members representing 7 u3as attended the event at Bounce' in Old Street. A mixture of doubles, singles and 'Round The World' insured a good opportunity for all to mix and have some fun togther to support the national u3a Week celebrations. 

In 2022 the national u3a started a programme of events to celebrate its 40th birthday. One aspect was to plant trees and help the climate. iU3A has played its part by procuring a copse in this new wood in the Brecon Beacons (see our Certificate here). You can see more information regarding 'our' copse here.

Also for the 40th anniversary our Picnic in the Park event went very well with over 80 members attending on a cool June day. We needn't have worried about not having enough food, members brought great quantities and variety to share. To mark the national u3a '40th Anniversary' we had a cake to cut and the new borough mayor was there to cut it. We also then featured in the Islington Tribune.
Members Food contributionsTribune Article

Islington U3A supported the London Region initiative of 'Walking Around London' — over 230 miles of Capital Ring and the LOOP — our Shorter Walks and Longer Walks groups took part.

Digital Strategy
The u3a movement is creating a 'Digital Strategy'. This is to support delivery of its overall five year strategic plan. The Digital Strategy will define how we help the u3a Movement (the u3a Office, Networks, Regions and local u3a) in embracing more digital methods. More information is available here: Digital Strategy

National u3a Week
In 2021 iU3A participated in this nationwide National u3a
              Dayevent to celebrate the u3a movement and attract new members. We kicked off our activities with an attractive stall in Chapel Market flying the banners of u3a. It was supported by many members giving out literature to the passing public. 15 signed up on the spot and many others took away our literature. On the actual day of 02 June we had a public demo from our Petanque group in Caledonian Park and a day-long online programme of events. The programme, again open to the public, showcased some of our Groups (Current Affairs, Classic Films, Bird Watching) and our Courses (past and future). We rounded off the day with an external entertainer (telling us the tale of a gory murder in Victorian London) and then another of Mary White's popular quizzes.

Last Monthly Meeting
For information on our last monthly meeting and all our previous monthly meetings see here.

Shared Learning Projects — London Met
In collaboration with London Metropolitan University we are undertaking some Shared Learning Projects (SLPs). The first of these was regarding 'Hybrid Meetings' and the future shape of our Groups using online and physical blended learning techniques. The feedback from this first SLP can be seen here.

New Members' Teas
New Members Tea Oct2020We've been running these for a number of years now with a variety of formats. The intention is to offer a direct welcome to new members to iU3A and they have always proved to be a great success. The new members appreciate the individual invite and the opportunity to meet some new members in the same posiNew Members at Union canaltion as themselves, learn a bit more about iU3A from the attending Executive Committee member(s), discuss their interests and what groups they may sign up for. Due to Covid restrictions these have had to be held outdoors and with few people attending.

Pub Quizzes
These are becoming regular events. We held a further three in 2020 all on Zoom.

Our last physical
pub quizzes was in February 2020, again in the Canonbury Tavern (just before lockdown). As always it was well supported, with 58 members buying a ticket for the event. A number of members met beforehand to eat at the Tavern and then we took up our team places upstairs.

Again we were using Jez Worsnip as our
professional quizmaster for the evening. Jez designs the questions especially for iU3A and of course the judges' word is final! As always it's a great opportunity to test the grey matter and get to know other members.

Winning TeamTen teams battled it out with mixed fortunes. The first half's musical round had caused some pains to most teams and there was a clear leader. In the second half the favourites lost ground. The winning team was the Steely J’s. They got 37 points. It was a close contest with only seven points between the first and last  teams:
another successful event enjoyed by all. Thanks to Mary W and Margaret O for organising the event. We are all looking forward to the next one in the Autumn.

We've now held a few of these 'Pub' quizzes in Pub Quiz May
                                                          2020-12020. The first was held online on Zoom in May 2020. Covid-19 has caused some of our activities to be cancelled, so this was a replacement activity, working much like our previous 'physical' pub quizzes. It was run by our usual quizmaster Jez, in 'virtual' teams which communicated with each other through WhatsApp, Skype, phone or other means. Each team had one electronic scorecard, which was then sent to Jez electronically for marking. 50 took part, over 10 teams. It was different! But it was enjoyed by all.

Team K, which consisted of Helen Wright (quizzing from locPub Quiz
                                                          May 2020-2kdown in Italy), Norman and Jean Wilson, Jayne Forbes and returning member Rob Townsend, won with a score of 32 points out of a possible 42. Well done to them! And thanks to Mary White for organising!

Open Days
ReceptionRoom LayoutWe were due to hold one of these again in 2020 but due to the Covid pandemic we had to postpone this to 2021. So it was with great joy that we were relatively back to normal in October 2021. We had a great turnout from current members and from members of the public interested in finding out about Islington U3A. Our Interest Groups were on display some showing their 'wears' or activities.  

Open Day 2016We didn't hold one of these in 2019 but in October 2018 our Open Day was also our fifth birthday celebration. Again this proved very popular and enabled non-members to meet us and find out about all the things iU3A does. As in previous years there was an excellent turnout with over 200 attending (151 members and 50 non-members). Out of the 50, 23 joined iU3A on the day and many others took away forms, so we hope to hear from them again soon. The existing members who turned up used the chance to see what other groups were on offer and sign up to them. Everybody also enjoyed our delicious birthday cake and had a good natter. This year the 'star' who cut our birthday cake was our acting Vice Chair, Ruth Gee.

Open Day 2018 StallsOpen Day 2018 Cake cuttingWith over 60 interest groups on display there were many great displays. Eight potential new groups were also being advertised to gauge interest and support. Visible and audible displays charmed the audience as they strolled around. All the existing Group Coordinators and their helpers did an excellent job of explaining what their group did and hence encouraged many to sign up. Hopefully this exercise also encouraged more members to be brave enough to volunteer to be Coordinators.

A special thanks must go to the sub-committee which organised another successful day, particularly to Sue Welsford, Diane Austin, Margaret Wearing and Isabel Dickson for coordinating the whole event. The Open Day is our major showcase for members and to the public who might be interested in joining.

Summer Parties
Chair iU3AThe crowd100 members attended our Summer Party on 20th June 2023. As this is our 10th anniversary year we decided to do something special. We held this event at Culpeper Community Garden which was looking absolutely beautiful. We were entertained by Martin Klute and his Jazz Band with their mellow summery music and we enjoyed delicious food and sparkling wine. We are grateful to all who helped, especially the Garden staff. See the photos here: Summer Party 2023

Summer Party 2021These are a regular annual event. We had a very enjoyable gathering in September (2021), with nearly 100 members present. This was the first time after the pandemic and lockdowns that many of our members had met physically, so it was much appreciated. The good food and drink might have helped as well. Thanks to Margaret O and all helpers who made this event a great success.


Summer Party1Summer Party6In June we held our annual Summer Party for all members. The venue was the Olden Gardens and it was looking its best — particularly the rambling rose. This tranquil haven is a glorious backdrop for our jolly party. This year we sold 108 tickets allowing us to just about cover the costs.

The weather forecast had threatened rain
— again. However, it held off, but it wasn't that warm.

The booze lasted well this year so all were happy, Summer Party5in fact the challenge was
getting people to vacate the gardens at the end when our time was up.

There was much
socialising, chatting to friends and making new friendships. Thanks to Lesley Delacourt for again bringing the bubbly back from France at a very low cost allowing us all to benefit from the low ticket price.

Thanks also to Diane Austin and other volunteers for organising this event.

Summer Party2Summer Party3Summer Party4

Group Coordinators Lunch
These are becoming more frequent. In 2020 with lockdown and other restrictions these were all held online through Zoom. In April 2019 we held the annual Group Coordinators' meeting: a good turnout, over 60% of coordinators attending. As usual there was a full agenda and plenty of healthy debate. The Chair kicked things off with a welcome and then some feedback from recent surveys and initiatives. The full presentation can be viewed here.
Coordinators Lunch1Coordinators Lunch2In January (2019) we held a 'thankyou' lunch for all our Group Coordinators. 45 attended, a good majority of the total we have. They were all thanked for the efforts they provided in running their groups. Our activity groups make up the majority of what we offer in iU3A, so we are highly dependent on these volunteers. Unlike the annual Group Coordinators' Meeting this was not about training but merely a thankyou. However it still provided an opportunity for the Group Coordinators to exchange ideas amongst themselves and learn about other group activities. While the service was a bit slow the conversation flowed.

Coordinators Lunch2It was also an opportunity to put a face to a name on an email. All seemed to enjoy the event.

A big thank you to Sue and Judith for organising the event.
Results from the recent (June 2018) Group Coordinators' survey can be read here.

iU3A Outings

Outings are organised from time to time by members to places of interest in London and the Home Counties. Destinations are varied and can always be reached by public transport, usually within the Freedom Pass Zone, but occasionally a bit further afield. If you want to arrange a visit, please contact Judith at outingscoord.iu3a@gmail.com. Forthcoming visits are advertised in the Members' Bulletin.
These have been resumed after the pandemic.

June 2023: Winchester. Winchester is a most interesting small citGroup photoy for a day visit. There are frequent trains and the journey takes only an hour from Waterloo Station. Romans lived in Venta Belgarum from 70 AD for more than three centuries, followed many years later by Saxons later who built the Old Minster, which then became a cathedral in c.676. The city was revived by Alfred the Great (c.880), and by the Norman conquest the city’s population was 8,000. The Normans replaced the Old Minster with the present cathedral, but the population declined as a result of civil wars and outbreaks of plague. Henry VIII closed abbeys and friaries. During the Civil War the city changed hands several times and was not very prosperous during the 17th and 18th centuries. By 1801 the population was fewer than 6,000. Modernisation in the 19th century revived the city: streets were lit, piped water installed, and the railway reached Winchester in 1840.

On arrival at Winchester our group of 18 walked first to the top of the High Street, past Oram’s Arbour, the site of an iron age hill fort, now a public open space, viewing en route the plague cross — a stone table on which people from the surrounding countryside put donations of food and money (the latter in bowls of vinegar) during the many outbreaks of plague within the city walls. We carried on past Peninsula Barracks — now housing and military museums of the Gurkhas, Royal Greenjackets infantry (riflemen) and Royal Army Pay Corps — and the ruins of William the ConqRound Tableueror’s castle, to arrive at the Great Hall with its historic round table (once considered to be the original table of King Arthur and his knights). Cressida had provided detailed notes on the Great Hall and members took some time to guide themselves around the building and Queen Eleanor’s Garden.

On leaving the Hall, Judith, who had previously lived in Winchester for thirty years, led the group at a leisurely pace down through the attractive High Street, stopping to view the Hants CC offices and Hampshire Hog sculpture, the Westgate — once a debtors’ prison and now housing a small museum of Tudor and Stuart Winchester and historic weights and measures and the bronze Frink sculpture of man on horse (1983, a recasting of the sculpture on Bond Street in London). We passed the former wool processing area of Staple Gardens and Jewry Street, the Jewish Quarter, memorable mainly for the 13th Century benefactor, Licoricia of Winchester, who was also a money lender to royalty and nobility. Licoricia’s story has recently been revived and a statue of her erected outside the city library. Judith explained that the barracks area extended as far as Southgate Street and the former barracks church is now a Picturehouse cinema. Below Southgate Street and Jewry Street the High Street becomes a pedestrianised area. In this lower section of the High Street, Judith pointed out the former office of the Hampshire Chronicle founded in 1772, now a restaurant, a prominent clock jutting out from the bank building that was once the Guildhall. (The current Gothic-style Guildhall building, with more rooms and offices serving many local government functions was built in the 1870s.) We then came to a cluster of Tudor buildings, including the Royal Oak pub, which claims to be the oldCathedral cloistersCathedral West windowest pub in England and 'God Begot House', a restored 16th C house. Lower down the High Street stands the 15th Century Buttercross, gifted to the citizens by the Bishop of Winchester, a favourite meeting place, particularly in the punk era. From here we walked through the narrow passage linking the High Street to The Square, past St Lawrence Church, the smallest church in the city, and past the City Museum and the historic Old Vyne pub to arrive at the Cathedral Close. Judith recalled that the avenue of lime trees leading to the cathedral was destroyed in the great storm of 1987. Rather controversially, a new avenue was planted a couple of years later and this now stands tall and makes an impressive approach to the cathedral entrance.

We stopped for lunch at the Cathedral Cafe, (https://www.winchester-cathedral.org.uk/welcome/cafe). After lunch, members had two choices for visiting the cathedral (https://www.winchester-cathedral.org.uk), either an official guided tour or a 1-hour self-guided visit followed by an exploration, with Judith, of several places of interest behind the cathedral close, including the flying buttresses, Dean Garnier’s Garden, the magnificent half-timbered Cheyney Court, formerly the Bishop’s Courthouse, Pilgrims – the cathedral choir school, the 14th Century Pilgrims’ Hall and the second remaining city gate, with the charming little church of St-Swithun-upon-Kingsgate above it. The afternoon tour coChrist's HospitalCheyney Courtntinued along College Walk, passing the Wykeham Arms, the Winchester College shop and P and G Wells bookshop, 8 College Street, where Jane Austen died in 1817. We stopped briefly at Winchester College, founded by William of Wykeham in 1382, and The Bishop’s Palace and Wolvesey Castle (the former residence of Bishops of Winchester). Several members dropped off the main group in this area to pursue their own interests, but the remaining few carried on to the River Itchen, where we admired the clear waters, the Weirs and the tiny section of remains of the original Roman Wall. We finally stopped at the medieval Watermill (a National Trust monument) for a break and a welcome cup of tea. We finished our walk at the Abbey Gardens, near the Guildhall and the well-known King Alfred’s Statue before boarding a bus to the station and then the train back to London.


May 2022 — St Albans: 17 mSt Albans 2embers travelled St Albans 1from St Pancras Station to St Albans. Most of the group walked through the town, and through the rain, to the cathedral, taking in the sights of the City Centre, including the City Museum, the weekly market and the Old Courthouse en route. A few decided to take a taxi to conserve their energy. We all met up in the cathedral cafe for a coffee before joining our pre-booked guided Cathedral tour at 12 noon. Our guide was excellent: he told us the history of the building, including many interesting anecdotes, and pointed out its main architectural features.

The cathedral stands on the site of the tomb of St Alban, who was martyred in about 300 AD. A series of churches were built to house the shrine and the building of the cathedral itself was started in 1077 by the Normans. St Albans became an important abbey and centre of pilgrimage until it was dissolved soon after 1534. By the 19th century the building was in a poor state and extensive changes were made to the fabric of the abbey, including the installation of stained-glass windows. There are some interesting modern touches as well, such as statues of recent saints of various Christian denominations. St Albans is the only ecumenical cathedral in the United Kingdom. We viewed architectural details of all these manySt Albans 3 phases, including the shrine to St. Alban and the shrine to Amphibolus, a priest he sheltered and then saved from execution as a Christian by the Romans by exchanging cloaks with him.

During recent restoration work an adSt Albans 4ditional carving was added to Amphibolus’s shrine to commemorate the pandemic.

After a lunch break group members had a choice of activity; a few decided to explore St Albans on their own but the majority opted to walk through Verulamium Park, below the Cathedral, where only a few remains are visible above ground but there are intriguing humps indicating the site of the Roman city. Verulamium was one of the largest cities in Roman Britain, built in a valley which was the site of a tribal centre and occupied by Romano-British citizens from c.50 AD to 450-500 AD. St Albans 5Our destination was the Verulamium Museum of everyday life in Roman Britain, which has many artefacts as well as very fine mosaics excavated from the site by Mortimer Wheeler. 

Afterwards, one or two visited the nearby Anglo-Saxon Church of St Michael built on the site of a Roman basilica, but the heavy rain deterred us from venturing to the Roman Theatre of Verulamium, built in about 140 AD. It is the only example of Britain of a theatre with a stage rather than an amphitheatre.
We returned to the station for the train back to St Pancras in our own time.  Many managed the slog back up to the top of the town through the rain, although a few decided to call a taxi.

2021 Audley Village: a new block of retirement flats overlooking Clapham Common was the destination for 13 members on 16 November. The Audley "village" has 94 one to three bedroom apartments as well as a pool, cinema, restaurant, health club and in-house care team. There was a warm welcome with tea and cake and no hard sell. One member was impressed with the transparency and willingness to answer questions and came away “longing to move in tomorrow”. The Audley model operates in some 20 locations outside London, and the price of flats varies accordingly.

Bath3December 2019 Bath ChristmasBath2 Market: on a sunny Monday morning in early December, nineteen members of iU3A set off from Paddington for a day out at the Bath Christmas market. It turned out that much was on offer in addition to opportunities for Christmas present buying, and food and mulled wine tasting at the 100+ pop up chalets in the centre of town. Some of the more hardy set off for a walking tour taking in the Holbourne museum (Raphael and Matisse exhibitions currently), Bath1the Royal Crescent, a quick look at the outdoor ice rink, frequent reminders of Jane Austen and Persuasion, all of course in the setting of the stunning honey-coloured sandstone of the Georgian architecture. Others looked round the Abbey and then the Roman Baths for what turned out to be a highly recommended, fun guided tour. In the late afternoon as the Christmas lights were at their best we all met up for a delicious supper before a dash to the station for the journey home. (Lisa Crispin and David McPhail)

To see more of our previous events and outings follow the links below:
For 2019-20 look here.
For 2016-18 look here.

Theatre Visits
We hold these at least once a year. These are in addition to our two Theatre Groups that we have (for more information see the Groups page. Thanks are due to Sue Welsford for organising these events.

Clues Trails
Clues Trail Sept2020We are pleased to be able to announce the restarting of these after lockdown. This one in October 2020 was in the King's Cross area (one of the benefits of London still being quiet is that we can hold these midweek). Three teams battled it out around a mixed area starting in the redeveloped Granary Square but then through the refurbished gasometers, across to the old St Pancras Gardens where so many famous dissenters are buried. Then we completed the circle through King's Cross and St Pancras stations before returning to Coal Drop Yard. The scores were very close: 68-67-67. Thanks again to Elizabeth Mansbridge for organising another of these successful events. The trail can be read here. Try it out yourself!
Clues2June2019Clues1June2019In 2019 we held two of these popular events. The first was held in June and was in the Hoxton/Shoreditch area with a street art theme. We gathered at the beginning point for food and drinks, then six teams of four or five set off from Great Eastern Street in a radial direction on the circular three-mile route. Teams used their observation skills to follow directions, use the clues provided to spot features (often street art) and also to spot the location of provided images. All teams avoided the late-back time penalty and final scores were close. However there was a clear winning team. While the pub made it awkward for us, all had a great time. You can do this trail by yourself at your own time. The trail can be read here.

The second was held in August and was around the Tower of London area. While quite a tourist hot spot, even on a Sunday morning, there were amazing quiet hidden pockets that were a delight for the four teams that puzzled their way around the course. We were lucky with the weather and had just enough sun to make it a pleasant stroll round this just under three mile course. However, there wasn't too much time to dawdle as there was a time penalty if you were late back. As always, it was the round of photo images that provided the difference between the first and last teams. Thanks go to Elizabeth Mansbridge for organising another great event (and to Isabel for doing the tickets and team selections).

Clues 2018In 2018 we held two of these popular events. The first of these was held in June and the second in September. For the June one a warm Sunday meant a very pleasant event with three teams this time (numbers a bit down from the last one). This one was based again around the city and followed byways and alleys that most people didn't even know existed. Great views over the river at one point. Most teams got the majority of the clues and got back to the starting & finishing point pub in good time. However the photo images were the differentiating aspect. No team spotted all the images during their route but the 'Poached Eggheads' saw the most and hence were the winning team.

The September one (arranged by Elizabeth Mansbridge) saw us in a new area for this Clues Trail
Canary Wharf. While the image might be of tall skyscrapers and not much else, we discovered an amazing collection of street art, historic corners, and interesting architectural features. Numbers attending were a bit disappointing considering the effort put in to organise these events. But maybe a Friday just coincides with too many other iU3A activities.  

In 2017
in August on the day 22 members turned up to form five teams, then followed the trail to seek out the clues. Additional points were awarded for spotting the location of some photographic images during the trail and a special round at the end back at the pub tested teams' knowledge of the London Guilds. Again everyone thoroughly enjoyed the event. Thanks to Elizabeth Mansbridge for organising this one — and we all look forward to the next one.

To see more of our previous events and outings follow the links below:
For 2019-20 look here.
For 2016-18 look here.

Or you might want to read about 'Our iU3A Story' which maps our development over the years: Our Story.

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