Every last Wednesday of the month, St John’s Wood Library, together with Penfold Community Hub, hosts events for those who are aged 50+. At these Monthly Meet Ups coffee, tea and croissants are served but the true treats are the social moments and food for thought created by interesting speakers. The feedback we receive is very positive, so in turn it is very gratifying to organise the programme.
Health topics are well received (dementia, fall prevention, Medication Passport, Healthwatch, etc) but the most popular events are those of general interest. Therefore, author Barbara Tennenbaum, who gave two presentations, talked about surviving adversity and never giving up – she and the group Golden Age Players performed a preview of her latest play. Blue Badge Guide for Westminster and the City of London, Richard Fenton, shared with us some fascinating facts he encountered while preparing for his Institute of Tourist Guiding exams. Artist Eszter Rajna talked about her painting process, while chemistry professor Laura Beal talked about inventions through the decades and even brought some ‘potions’ and created special effects. On 17 December 2014, for the special December event, our last speaker, David Turner, gave a talk on Victorian Railways that generated some comparisons from Victorian times onwards!
A very popular theme has been local history. A local resident but also a media star, Harvey Gould (West End Extra) talked about his father’s and his time as wire operators in the military service. Both fought in World War One and Two respectively. As it happened, there were members in the audience who had also participated, so a lively exchange of reminiscence took place.
Such treasure troves of memories can be difficult to preserve and find. So we invited Louise Brodie, Jeanne Strang and Jane Leaver to talk about the St John’s Wood Memories website. They described what the portal aims to do and invited everyone to bring in photos which we could scan at the library and post online, along with their stories, on both the portal and Westminster Archives website. We were honoured to have with us Peter Daniel from Westminster Archives and delighted that Elaine Marsh of the Home Library Service organised a trip for several library patrons who use the service.
The next Meet Up is on Wednesday 28 January – contact the library for more details.