This year’s Summer School just happened to coincide with the three-day heatwave that included the UK’s hottest day on record and even caused a reduction of trains due to melting rails. The heat was inevitably a challenge for some, but those who attended were delighted to cool off in the airconditioned lecture halls of the St. Bride Foundation, home of the London Summer School for seven years.
The general theme this year was “Celebration of the Sea”, and excellent talks ran on maritime art, finding one’s way in an empty ocean, seaborne disease, air/sea rescue, migration, and the archaeology of the Thames foreshore. In addition there were stimulating presentations on other topics including various aspects of music from Bach to jazz; current affairs in China and India; a history of the moon; botanical painting; the hidden kingdom of fungi; and trends in antiques dealing.
Workshops included ‘The Versailles Treaty’, ‘The Silk Roads’, ‘Greek Comedy’ and ‘Cryptic Crosswords’, all of which proved extremely popular. Six guided walks – most led by blue badge guides — offered the opportunity to explore adjacent areas of London, especially its maritime connections.
Feedback indicates high levels of satisfaction, with 84% of the sessions being rated as ‘good’ or ‘excellent’. This year we catered for over 130 members on each of the three days and the buffet lunch was much enjoyed as ever — “Fabulous custard tarts!!”; “Fruit skewers excellent!”.
Whilst the majority of attendees came from U3As in London, 25% were attracted from U3As in surrounding counties and as far away as Devon and Yorkshire. In addition, 45% of attendees said they hadn’t been to the Summer School before. An increased number of attendees (83%) said they would like to come again next year.
“This was my first Summer School and I was very impressed”.
“I can’t emphasise enough how much I enjoyed the sessions I attended. A wonderful opportunity to learn about new things and meet new people and if I can I will certainly come back next year”.
We owe enormous thanks for this success to the inspiration and leadership of Chris Feldman who has chaired the Summer School Committee for the past five years. Chris is standing down from the lead role but has kindly offered to support the team during preparations for next year’s event. Look out for further information in February. See more at https://u3asites.org.uk/london-region/home