Exeter Local History Society members are hooked on history. If you share our fascination, why not join us? We have six lecture meetings a year (details below). These alternate with six guided walks, plus we occasionally have long distance outings, and we cover an incredibly diverse range of subjects from Roman remains to post-WW2 redevelopment.
Our regular bi-monthly meetings at Jurys Inn are usually held on the second Wednesday of the month in February, April, June, August, October and December. Our walks/visits are also bi-monthly, usually on the second Wednesday of January, March, May, July, September and November. Full details of future walks and talks are given below.
The charge for each meeting is normally £3 (free to members) and the annual membership fee is £12 (£16 for joint membership). If you sample a meeting and decide to join, the £3 cost will be deducted from your first annual fee. Walks and visits normally cost £3 p.p. for members and visitors alike.
We also produce six newsletters a year - how about we email you the most recent as a free taster? To request a copy just email us at:
And do check out this website and see for yourself the great selection of subjects with which we entertain our members. Just click on "Recent Events" or "Visits & Walks" on the banner at the top of this page to explore our programme history! Click on "How To Join Us" for an application form.
We hope we will see you soon at one of our many events which we are planning for 2021. Our talks are held at Jurys and for anyone concerned about infection we have been assured that, as far as ventilation and maintaining social distancing are concerned, all directives are followed.
The airconditioning provides clean outside air at regular intervals and the numbers permitted in the room (which normally takes 60) are reduced to 25. We therefore recommend that if any member wishes to attend any event - including the AGM - it is booked well in advance with Eventbrite. There is no charge for members to attend any of these gatherings but we regret that, due to lack of space, there are no spaces available for non-members.
King George III, An Underrated King.
Talk by Professor Jeremy Black on
Thursday, 14 January 2021
Professor Jeremy Black says of George III (who visited Exeter in 1789) “Madness is hilarious when it occurs two centuries ago. The character of King George III — bewigged and bonkers — provides comic relief for many.” Poor George has not figured highly in British minds. His reign from 1760 to 1820 was marred by that American debacle, trouble in Ireland, war with France, the Gordon Riots, discord in parliament and an embarrassing descent into lunacy.
Professor Black has been teaching a wide range of courses at Exeter University since 1996. He has been the key lecturer for the First Year World History courses, World History-1750, and World History from 1750. He claims to have been adroit at subverting the nonsense topics of political correctness! He also did a Second-Third year course on Newspaper History, and the War MA and dissertations. Although he found global history a tonic, he missed the national perspective. This drove him to try to cover that in print. He has written over ninety books all of which are available from most booksellers (Waterstones, Amazon etc).
Jeremy says he greatly enjoyed the teaching and developed a lecturing style of speaking without notes offering contrasting interpretations which he sought to drum home in lectures, seminars and tutorials. Extensive past debating experience at school and university, always extempore, helped greatly.
The booking link is:
Rehousing Exeter after the War:
Factory Made Houses and Model Estates
Talk by Clare Maudling on Thursday, 11 February 2021
“EXETER WAS A JEWEL AND WE HAVE DESTROYED IT” boasted German radio in May 1942. The extensive damage to the city centre caused by those air raids obscures another problem created by war damage: housing. The raids destroyed around 1,500 houses and seriously damaged another 2000; by some estimates there was barely a house in the city which emerged unscathed.
Added to the plight of the bombed out was the pre-war problem of poor housing which, alongside a growing number of newly-married couples and young families in want of a home of their own, created a post-war Council housing list of 5000.
Clare Maudling, who described to us in 2014 how Exeter’s centre was revamped, will take us through a tale of innovative temporary ‘pre-fabs’ and new, award-winning, housing estates. The estates at Stoke Hill, Whipton Barton and Countess Wear were built according to the new concept of ‘neighbourhood planning’ i.e. based on the concept of the ‘garden suburb’ to create new communities complete with their own shops, schools, churches, pubs and leisure buildings. They were designed with thought and care, with the Stoke Hill Estate receiving national recognition for its design.
Clare will describe the thinking that went into the building of these estates and the problems the council encountered in its efforts to ensure that the people of Exeter had homes they could be proud of.
Charles Dickens’ devon Christmas present :
Originally scheduled forThursday, 15 October 2020 but postponed, due to Covid, until 2021.
John Fisher, writer, author, script and sketch-writer, cartoonist, public speaker. National Trust Volunteer and would-be ukelele virtuoso, now re-visits Christmas hereabouts in Exeter and in particular Charles Dickens’s immortal “A Christmas Carol”.
Winter or summer, at home or abroad, Dickens always wore a button-hole of holly when he gave a public reading of A Christmas Carol. He first picked his holly sprig during an after supper stroll through Rougemont Gardens on a warm August evening in Exeter in 1858.
It is essential to book for this popular event as places are limited. It is, of course, free to members and we hope to have a confirmed date for this event shortly when booking will be possible through this page.
HISTORY EVENTS FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE YEAR - AND NEXT!
Originally scheduled forThursday, 10 December 2020 but postponed, due to Covid, until 2021.
Talk at Jurys Inn Exeter by Richard Holladay, on Elands Books. (NOTE: To avoid Late Night Christmas shopping crowds, the day/date might be changed)
Thursday, 11 March 2021
Walk around St Pancras Parish with John Allan who will describe who lived where in the Middle Ages and what they did for a living - and other things they did!
Thursday, 8 April 2021
Talk at Jurys Inn Exeter by Dr Todd Gray who will give us a rare glimpse into woollen cloth-making - Exeter’s most important export for many centuries.
Thursday, 10 June 2021
Talk at Jurys Inn, Exeter by Robert Hesketh on Exeter’s Tudor & Regency Buildings.