Czech Memorial Foundation restored

Czech fountain celebration -1On October 27th local people joined the Czech community to celebrate the restoration of the Czech memorial fountain in Jephson Gardens which has been listed as an historic monument Grade II. This was the 50th anniversary of the unveiling of the fountain commemorating the occasion when a brave group of young Czech men, trained in Leamington,  sacrificed their lives in defence of their country after assassinating the Nazi leader, Reinhard Heydrich.

It was also 100 years since the Czech Republic was created, and both the Czech and the Slovak embassies were represented at the event. Red roses were laid by the Czechs and local dignitaries, and a group of small children sang a Czech song – a fitting end to a moving occasion.

 Margaret Begg

Station friends’ talk Oct 25th

Anthony Coulls, Senior Curator of the National Rail Museum at York

This was the first “national” Museum outside London and there were questions in Parliament about the location. The British Transport collection in Clapham was split into its component parts (rail, bus, aircraft, cars …) in 1975 and is still in transition. Rail is mainly in York and Shildon, near Darlington, but some “large lumpy things” in Anthony’s charge are in Swindon, Doncaster, Tyseley, Didcot, Bressingham … .  Engines and wagons and carriages are moved about – with difficulty.

Anthony’s philosophy is that the NRM is a museum for everyone, not just train spotters and rail enthusiasts.  We are all affected by the railways. The aim is to preserve not only the rare and beautiful: Puffing Billy and the Flying Scotsman, (seen above on the turntable at York) but also the modern and commonplace: commuter carriages, freight wagons.  Some of these have given 40 years of long service and travelled millions of miles, but when the model is superseded, they are consigned to scrap. The museum undertakes to repair and conserve and repaint at least one example of each type for future generations to enjoy.

There are three stars in railway history: Trevithick, Stephenson and Wickens – and very few have heard of him. He was a professor in the aerospace industry, called in by British Rail to design the jet-propelled Advance Passenger Train, father of the Pendolino and other high speed trains. According to Anthony, they do not run or roll but fly!

There was material here for several lectures. Our national heritage is in the best hands. His parents and teachers were there to enjoy it too.

Marianne Pitts.

Visit to Hill Close Gardens in Warwick

Hill Close Gardens, Warwick, was the venue for the latest meeting of members of the Leamington Society on Thursday 11th October. Members were invited to a special guided tour of the historic gardens, to be followed by afternoon tea.

These are the last remaining examples of gardens laid out from 1845 on what was originally pasture land. They were rented by Warwick tradesmen, living in the town above their premises, with no space for a garden or relaxation. In these new gardens they could grow vegetables or flowers, plant fruit trees or keep poultry. Many also built summerhouses of wood or brick as shelter or a place to enjoy the peace and fresh air of a detached garden outside the town.

Visitors to the gardens today will see the restored layouts and the very different gardens: not only 60 varieties of apple trees and 11 of pear trees, but seasonal flowers, fruit, vegetables in abundance.

Barbara Lynn.

Gold! Heart of England in Bloom

Annabel Rainbow writes; I’m delighted to confirm that Leamington has received a Gold award in this year’s Heart of England in Bloom.

I wanted to say a personal thank you to everyone who helped with the tour, portfolio, and of course The Magazine, – you’re fabulous, thank you! 😍

We’ve started planning for next year already and have one or two new things in mind but they are still in the “thinking it through” stages. We hope to be in touch soon if that’s ok, but if you have any ideas how we can support local groups and individuals like yourselves please do get in touch. All ideas welcomed! Annabel

Art in the Park buildings competition winner

Clive Engwell of the Leamington Society presents competition prize winner Andrew Thompson with his print of   “Leamington Houses”.  Sidney Syson, Chairman, looks on.

Over 130 people entered the Leamington Society’s competition at Art in the Park.  They were invited to identify, in the correct order, the 4 buildings the Society’s judges considered had most improved the street scene in Leamington over the last 2 years.

Easily top of the public’s list was Vitsoe’s in Princes Drive, but Andrew was the only one to come up with the top 4 in the same order as the judges.  Andrew, who is a local Councillor commented.  “Wow – I have not won any competition before! It was a real pleasure to pop in and see the Leamington Society stall at AITP.”   



Tour of Britain stage 4 finish

There was a lot going on today.. the Tour of Britain was a much bigger show than the previous ladies events we have seen. The buses lined up whilst the riders were out en route.


Streets barricaded off, the griffon has never seen it so quiet!


Milling around in the “village” opposite Newbold Street. More in the Pump Room Gardens


And then, after many extravert police motorcyclists showing off, the actual peleton, interspersed with support vehicles.


Here’s a video of the head of the pack, you may not be able to see this on your browser.

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Richard Ashworth (thanks) took these shots of the leaders reaching the turn into Newbold Terrace, and of Thomas and Froome slightly off the pace.



And after all the fuss, amazingly rapid exits toward the Lake District for the next stage.


Great fun, well worth the effort to go and see. Next year must catch them out in the country.

Tour of Britain comes to Leamington

In case you had missed it, Stage Four finishes in Newbold Terrace on Wednesday 5th, at around 15.30 give or take. The route from Nuneaton moves around Warwickshire with plenty of opportunities to watch earlier in the day. Go to the Tour of Britain website  for details. Beware of; that’s a betting website that comes way above the official site in the search engine. And no, I don’t know who this is in the picture!