Association of Open University Graduates








News of AOUG in East Midlands (05)

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Holme Pierrepont Hall

In February, on a blustery day, members met at Holme Pierrepont Hall and gardens, near Nottingham. The Pierreponts originally came over with William I in 1066 and settled in Nottinghamshire in 1280 when Sir Henry Pierrepont married Annora de Manvers, the six generation of her family to live at Holme. This privately owned house is now the family home of the Brackenbury family, who are direct descendants and the house has been occupied since 1280. There are three generations of the Brackenbury family continue to live in the Hall today The Tudor manor house on the estate today dates back to 1500 with some of the earliest brickwork in the county, and then had later additions and alterations made to the hall since then. It was rebuilt as a Medieval Manor House during the reign of Henry VII with many items of the dark oak furnishings, one of the chairs reputing to be from Oliver Cromwell times. It was incredible to see the lengths of some floorboards in the Drawing Room which must have been twenty foot long in one piece.

Ramsey Hertzog



Battle of Britain Memorial Flight

Following a suggestion from one of our members from Lincoln, members joined another party to view the aircraft, which form the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight at Coningsby. Housed in an enormous hanger, on an active RAF Station, are the aircraft which take part in many celebratory fly-pasts consisting of aircraft built during WWII. Here we were greeted, by a new AOUG Associate member, who is a volunteer there. Our very knowledgeable guide took us round so many interesting aircraft. These included an American Dakota, mainly used as a troop carrier, and a famous Spitfire, in Battle of Britain livery, built in 1940. The highlight of the tour, for me at least, was viewing one of the only two remaining airworthy Lancaster bombers. (The other is in Canada) I still recall the magical sounds of the engine of these planes which regularly flew from RAF Upwood, a mile from by birthplace of Ramsey. This particular aircraft, with its wing span of a hundred and two feet, was rebuilt many times during its life and was receiving maintenance work ready for this year’s flying.

Ramsey Hertzog



Burghley House

On a cold April day, members from our Region, and Region 06, met for a visit to Burghley House. This is renowned as one of the finest Elizabethan houses in the country. A tour of the inside revealed great paintings and remarkable ceilings painted by an Italian artist.
We started our tour of the house which was built for William Cecil, the Chief Minister of Elizabeth I. The rooms, many with carved wooden paneling, form sides of an open rectangle and in one of the rooms, the helpful guide pointed out to us, the famous painting by Bruegel, the Younger, entitled `Rent Day`. This shows some figures paying their rent in the form of animals, in lieu of ready money. After lunch we went into the gardens, a very large landscaped area with a vast array of sculptures and then near the entrance, an additional `Garden of Surprises`. Here our party enjoyed stepping over or through hidden water features which would suddenly erupt without warning.

Ramsey Hertzog



Lincoln Lunch

Members met for our regular quarterly lunch at the William IV public house, on the Brayford Quay North in Lincoln. The weather was kind and so the river was busy with river trips and many small boats but although we have previously taken a river trip, on this occasion we confined ourselves just to the meal. Some members asked about the current OU Relationship situation and so the lunch turned out to stimulate extremely lively discussions which lasted long after we had finished our meal, and well into the afternoon, as we lingered on with coffees. Ideas were also discussed for future visits and many suggestions of different venues were put forth.

Ramsey Hertzog






Wentworth Woodhouse

A visit had been organised as a Handshake event with Region 07 to Wentworth Woodhouse, built originally for the 1st Marquess of Rockingham (circa 1735), which apparently has the largest frontage of any house in the country. In World War II it had been used by Military Intelligence and at one time was severely damaged by coal mining which reached under one of the wings, preventing the family from returning. It was then passed through a series of owners. About thirty years ago I joined others for a guided tour around the Rolls Royce factory organised by Mr. Haydon-Baillie who, at the time, was described as the fiftieth richest man in the country. He had made his wealth through a chemical company. Recently I learned that for ten years he had owned Wentworth Woodhouse. Following the collapse of his company, the large house had to be sold and unfortunately fell into further disrepair. Hence my interest as I joined other AOUG members to visit the house. Once there we found that there was a large prestigious Antique Fair in progress and this was occupying the whole of the ground floor. However we were still able to admire the enormous size of the building and to learn that because of the coal mining in the past, the effected wing of the property had sunk dangerously and thus had to be raised and made safe before visitors would be able to explore. This was not the only issue for the extensive renovation plan which was well underway. Almost all the frontage was covered in scaffolding in order for the roofing to be mended. The property and extensive grounds are now owned by the Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust, who is undertaking the renovation.

Ramsey Hertzog





Museum of Timekeeping - July 2018

Around 1830 an amateur artist, Thomas Wright, set about redesigning a Manor House in Upton so that it could house his substantial collection of paintings by such artists as Gainsborough and Hogarth. Following owners of the property included the owner of a brewery and a religious order. The current owners are the Museum of Timekeeping and it was here that some AOUG members visited to wander amongst an amazing collection of timekeeping pieces. These included a pocket watch used by Captain Scott on his fateful expedition to the South Pole to the original Speaking Clock. One of the many stands at the exhibition was on Big Ben which is currently under major repair – a guide explained that its hour hand is 2.7 metres long. After enjoying a drink, our members dispersed after a most unusual but fascinating visit.

Ramsey Hertzog

Executive Representative: Ramsey Hertzog 01246 414746

Lincoln – Susan Bradley - 01522 750292 -