Association of Open University Graduates



Members after Lincoln meal


Welbeck Estate


Gibraltar Point

Canons Ashby


Denby Pottery





News of AOUG in East Midlands (05)

Welcome | News | Diary Dates

Lincoln Summer Meal
Beautiful weather probably accounted for the smaller than usual group of members who met for the Lincoln Summer Meal but it was nevertheless very enjoyable with a chance to catch up on all the updates since we last met together. Apart from chatting about each others’ personal lives, I was able to recount the activities of the Association’s AGM weekend, the new development of friends and family Associate Membership opportunities and the plans for the Foundation Lecture. I was also able to share experiences of our trip to Gibraltar Point with another member who had attended and to explain to those who hadn’t, the numerous bids that we had seen there.

It was at such a meal earlier in the year that most of the ideas for our Summer events had been suggested and so after the meal we talked over more ideas for the future.  When we came out of the restaurant into the sunshine, the side of the river was full of both locals and holiday makers sitting out or strolling along the waterfront enjoying the best of the weather. A pleasure boat was taking trips and the ice-cream sellers were doing a roaring trade. On the end of the bridge was a highly painted model knight on horseback, part of the historical trail that had been designed for the school holidays.



Welbeck Estate
Our July visit was to the Welbeck Estate. This was a Handshake event with Region 07 and it was lovely that the Yorkshire Executive Representative and her family were able to join us. After a welcome drink our members visited the Harley Gallery in which were displayed many pictures produced by local artists. These had been submitted as part of a competition and the winner was a large portrait of a woman. One set of works fascinated us due to the detail involved. Magnifying glasses were provided and we discovered many tiny drawings of creatures, not readily visible at first, each contributing to the overall effect of the main image.  Across the courtyard we viewed many artefacts collected by various Cavendish-Bentick family members over many years as part of the Portland Collection. I was particularly interested in a small truck which was used on an underground narrow gauge railway conveying food from the kitchens to the dining room.



Gibraltar Point

In Mid-June our visit was to the Gibraltar Point Nature Reserve. We arrived to find a dozen members and friends and began the event by listening to an introductory talk by one of the Gibraltar Point volunteers. We then split into groups to follow the various routes either to a hide or to view the seals basking on the distant sands. Having viewed the seals, or the lumps in the distance that we were reliably informed were the seals, we made our way to a hide overlooking some lakes. Fortunately there were photos to assist us on the wall and also another visitor already there with a book, and between us we were able to identify many different species of birds, including Moorhens, Shell ducks, Egrets, Herons and Cormorants.





Canons Ashby
Around 1150AD on a busy route between Oxford and Northampton, Canons Ashby was built providing rest for travellers. Apparently the Priory was one of the first to be dissolved by Henry VIII and the property was sold to a Northampton MP who replaced the original building with one of his design. This was the venue for our April AOUG visit. As we parked our car we were aware of the beautifully manicured gardens surrounding the Priory. Crossing the pebbled courtyard we started our tour of the building. In the main Drawing Room it was very noticeable that serious subsidence at caused the pillars beside the large fireplace to sink and a very helpful caretakers pointed out to us that metal supports had been inserted to prevent further problems. In the Servants’ Hall we admired the brilliantly painted designs on the walnut wall coverings. These had been exposed once the whitewashing had been carefully removed. We ended our tour by walking over to St. Mary's Church which is one of only four in the country that is privately owned.




Visit to Stamford

Our March visit was to the Victorian preserved town of Stamford. On a previous visit I had collected route maps showing the many churches and buildings of particular historical interest. However on the day the planned route was discarded and we just wandered throughout the many interesting streets. In one of the most important churches we spent considerable time trying to correctly interpret one of the beautiful windows with the assistance of a visiting woman sitting in one of the pews. We rounded off the visit with a lunch at the famous George Hotel beside the river.





Denby Pottery

In mid-February as a Handshake event with surrounding Regions, our members met to visit Denby Pottery, near Ripley. So many other people arrived for the guided tour that we were split into groups. We were so surprised before the actual tour started to each be supplied with some clay and given a mould with which to make the shape of a small frog. The resulting images we were able to take home as a souvenir. (Mine is still adorning the kitchen window sill where it was placed to dry out but I fully intend to paint it before too long.)  Then with strict instructions to keep well within the floor markings of the safe areas, we toured the factory and were amazed at how large it was – operating both by day and night. Following the tour we visited the other shops on the complex including one where we could purchase seconds of Denbyware at reduced prices.

Ramsey Hertzog



Executive Representative: Ramsey Hertzog 01246 414746

Lincoln – Susan Bradley - 01522 750292 -
Burton-on-Trent –David Bellaby 012883 2144017