August Main Meeting

The Chair, Christine Barwell, welcomed the members to what she hoped would be the last meeting on Zoom. Chris noted that things were changing quickly; restrictions had been relaxed and the tourist season was in full swing with Looe being extremely busy. She also explained that the Committee had had a great deal of discussion regarding the arrangements for the Autumn programme of meetings and social events. Their decisions are as follows.

The Picnic arranged for Wednesday 18th of this month, at St. Martin’s Hall, from 12.30 pm is to go ahead. Please bring your table, chairs and picnic. The Hall will be open for the necessary facilities and in case of rain.

A new afternoon event had been included following the success of the recent Boules and Pitch and Putt afternoon up at Looe Bowling Club This will take place on Tuesday 7th September: £2, just turn up and play!

Regrettably, the Quiz night and Fish ‘n’ chip supper planned for Saturday, September 25th has been postponed along with the 30th Anniversary Celebration Cream Tea on Friday 1st October. However, at the moment, the u3a’s Got Talent Evening planned for Saturday 23rd October will go ahead. If you’d like to perform in this, whether to sing a song, recite a poem, play an instrument, tell a few jokes or perform a sketch, please contact Alison Currah either using the details in your Booklet or email info@looeu3a.org .

Alison Currah, responsible for the website and IT, then gave a brief tour of the website.

In Groups’ News, it was reported that the Book Club and Music Appreciation were both still meeting monthly on Zoom and were happy to continue in this way. The Poetry Club had had their first face-to-face meeting in a member’s garden, the Bridge Club had also resumed as a ‘live’ event and both Walking Groups continuing to meet. The Film Club will be resuming on the 14th September and the Ukulele group sometime in October. Tunes in the Afternoon has been postponed until further notice.

In Community News, Nick Bailey informed the members that the Heritage Centre in West Looe, was open to book for private tours to include a Cream Tea.

Before introducing the speaker for August, Nick explained that in September, for our first meeting in the Hall, we were hoping to be able to have a hybrid meeting so that those who still had concerns about meeting together could log in and watch on Zoom and those who felt able, could attend in person. The speaker will be Roger Browne who will be talking about his life in music and, among other things, be playing the piano. The Zoom broadcast is subject to trials beforehand. Watch this space!

Sarah Slater, an official guide, from Hampton Court Palace, then began her talk: ‘Sex, Secrets, Scandal & Salacious Gossip of the Royal Court 1660 to 1830’. She started by showing us her period Restoration costume, explaining that during that liberal age it was all about showing off the shoulders with a hint of the linen shift undergarment to display wealth and to protect the outer gown from getting dirty. Her hair, up and dressed with ringlets or ‘Spaniel’s ears’ at the side showed respect for King Charles II love of his dogs and the pearls at her throat displayed her purity and virginity.

Illustrating her talk with many pictures and photographs, Sarah next explained how Hampton Court Palace had come to be built by Cardinal Wolsey in the early 16th century, later attracting Henry VIII to use it, then being developed by Sir Christopher Wren and occupied by the Georgian Kings and Princes before they fell from grace in the 1700s.

Hampton Court Palace

Sarah then continued with a most interesting, informative and at times eyebrow-raising presentation peppered with warnings of adult content. She explained how the Victorians reputation for being prudish came about because of the prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases especially amongst the military and the necessary avoidance of casual sex to avoid unwanted pregnancies and the risk of disease.

She talked in detail about the Royal Court and the Kings’ mistresses, about prostitution and the extraordinary Harris’s List of Covent Garden Ladies, the Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, early contraception and Mrs Phillips’ most sought-after reusable condoms and even why a pair of drawers got their name!

It was a fascinating morning and Sarah ended by answering members’ questions and hoping that some present would visit the Palace in the future and experience one of the many guided tours.