On Saturday 23rd. November, many of our members and their friends were transported from a very wet Stafford to sunny Maastricht, in the Netherlands. We enjoyed our first film screening event in our village hall. After a few technical hitches, (the screen would not fit on our stage and the heat from the projector set off the fire alarm) the 2019 concert of André Rieu and his 60-piece Johann Strauss Orchestra commenced on time at 2.00 pm. As always, Andre’s concert was full of surprises, including a lively finale by the disco group, The Village People! A handful of members left their seats to dance and sing along to YMCA. All in all, a memorable and fun afternoon.
Thanks to John (Reels on Wheels) for his patience in setting up the equipment and showing the film.
In the morning we have a tour of the factory to discover how each item of English fine bone china is made and see how the artisans create the beautiful pieces that are cherished throughout the world. See the full journey that the wares take from clay to the final gilded products. We then visit the visitor centre and museum with an exhibition showing some of the earliest and rarest pieces produced in Derby history and the most comprehensive collection of Derby Porcelain to be seen anywhere in the world. Lunch in the 1750 Tea Room will consist of a selection of freshly made sandwiches, assorted mini quiche, sausage rolls and spicy potato wedges or chips; fresh fruit scones served with jam and clotted cream, a selection of cakes, tea or coffee. After lunch visit the shop, which offers a selection of best quality and slightly imperfect tableware patterns covering classic to contemporary designs, giftware, commemoratives, and a range of paperweights, all with 10% discount.
Thank you to everyone who supported the Coffee Morning on April 24th.
The amount raised in the raffle was £87, which has been donated to one of our chosen charities,
David Barker organised an outing to Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet and Blue John Cavern on April 25th. 2018.
Please click on individual photos to enlarge
Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet is a unique eighteenth century industrial works. Catch a glimpse of life at home and at work at a rural scythe and steelworks dating back to the 18th century.
Abbeydale Works was once a producer of agricultural tools and the largest water-powered industrial site on the River Sheaf. It is now a group of Grade I and Grade II listed buildings and a Scheduled Ancient Monument.
See the Manager’s House and Worker’s Cottage, waterwheels, workshops, tilt hammers, a grinding hull, steam engine and the last complete surviving crucible steel furnance in the UK!
Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet has been restored and transformed following a 3 year £1million Heritage Lottery Funded restoration project completed in 2016.
The new gallery tells the story behind the works, its people and their working lives.
The world famous Blue John Cavern in Castleton in the Peak District has been said to be the finest that can be seen by the general public in Western Europe.
Many of our members enjoyed an outing to the charming town of Uppingham and Rockingham Castle, on Wednesday August 1st 2018.
Many thanks to Jim Bergin for the photographs in the following slideshow.
Sir Richard Arkwright’sMASSON MILLS, followed by a visit to Carsington Water
Masson Mills Working Textile Museum
Masson Mills house a fascinating collection of authentic historic textile machinery dating from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. In 2010 the collection was described as “possibly the UK’s finest collection of working textile machines” and includes machinery originally from Masson Mills, along with a large collection of other items and artefacts from textile mills all over Britain.
Masson Mills Weaving Shed
Masson Mills Shopping Village really is a unique shopping experience with sixty different retail concepts set over five floors, all under one roof. – with designer clothes, jewellery, lingerie, golf, gifts, beer, whisky and food, ladies and men’s clothing from The Edinburgh Woollen Mill and much more. ‘City centre shopping without the city’ The shopping village adjoins Masson Mills Working Textile Museum.
This outing was led by David Wilkinson who is the retired Stafford Borough archaeologist and who used to live and work in Cirencester, known as the capital of the Cotswolds.
The award winning Corinium Museum is the must-see visitor attraction of the Cotswolds. Leave the 21st century behind you and discover the treasures of the Cotswolds as you explore its history at this multi award winning Museum.
The Corinium Museum has one of the finest and most extensive Roman collections in the country. Corinium, Roman Cirencester, was the second largest Roman town outside London and the major Roman administration centre for south-westernBritain.
Other attractions include the Brewery Arts Centre and the parish church.
Janet arranged an outing to Rode Hall, one of Cheshire’s most exquisite country houses. Discover more about its rich heritage and how the Baker Wilbraham family who have owned it for approaching three hundred and fifty years, have contended with the challenges of social change and architectural trends through to its ongoing conservation and restoration today.
Rode’s Grade II listed park and gardens are amongst the finest in Cheshire. A seventeenth-century survey described ‘orchards, gardens and courts within the Greene before ye hall’ but there are no further records of the grounds until 1790 when Richard Wilbraham Bootle commissioned a ‘Red Book’ from the landscape gardener Humphry Repton (1752 – 1818).
David Barker has arranged an outing to Middleport Pottery, Buslem on Thursday April 6th.
Middleport is the home of the world famous Burleigh.
At Burleigh Pottery, the skilled team of craftspeople have been producing Burleighware at The Middleport Pottery since 1889. It takes 25 pairs of hands to create a single piece of Burleigh pottery, and each pot is meticulously hand-finished. Creating something good, something that lasts, something that is above fashion and trends, something timeless, can’t be hurried.
After a tour of the factory, at about 12.30pm. our coach will take us on to Little Moreton Hall (National Trust) where lunch will be followed by a guided tour.
Cost: £22.25 per person for NT members, £30.75 for non NT members.
For full details, please see the February edition of your Newsletter
A visit to the Barclaycard Arena, Birmingham, was a FIRST for a group of our Phoenix ‘STRICTLY’ fans.
We were treated to all three finalists from the recent TV competition – Louise Redknapp and Kevin Clifton, Danny Mac and Oti Mabuse and winner Ore Oduba, dancing with Karen (wife of Kevin) rather than Joanne (sister of Kevin) Clifton, who’s busy in Thoroughly Modern Millie.
The line-up also included Daisy Lowe and Aljaz Skorjanec and Lesley Joseph, with Gorka Marquez rather than Anton du Beke.
The amazing show included some fantastic group numbers. We were treated to a tribute to West Side Story, a steamy Argentine Tango to Chicago, a fabulous 60s number to Hairspray (with Ed throwing himself into it wearing a camp bright pink suit) and a 1930s Hollywood routine with top hats, tails and feather fans.
The aerial acrobatics, indoor fireworks and flame effects to added to the drama.
Ed Balls received the lowest scores, but the loudest applause and a standing ovation!
Everyone in the sell out arena had a smile on their face during an afternoon of fun filled, family entertainment.
Pat Wilkinson wrote the following letter after the visit to the British Ironwork Centre
I am so sorry we didn’t report as you suggested at reception . I simply had not read your letter, however I have to thank you and tell you how much we enjoyed it.
You will be pleased to know the coach driver was also most impressed and is going to recommend a visit by his coach company .
My son who recommended it to me in the first instance, has promised me he will visit after getting a resounding praise from various members of the group.. We shall certainly put it on the group itinery for a visit in the future.
Pat arranged an outing to Oswaldtwistle Mills and Samlesbury Hall, on MARCH 14th. 2017
Oswaldtwistle Mills award-winning Shopping Village in Lancashire has something to amaze, charm and intrigue visitors of all ages. The former Weaving Mill has over 100 retailers all under one roof, 5 Restaurants, NEW Ice Cream Parlour, extensive Home, Lifestyle & Garden Centre, Mill Grounds, Aquatics Specialist, Craft Centre, Textile and Heritage Museum and even it’s own Wildfowl Reserve
In the afternoon we travel to Salmesbury Hall,a fascinating medieval house.
Our guided tour through the historic rooms is with a specialist costumed tour guide (a witch). This is followed by a Cream Tea.
Samlesbury Hall, one of the stunning stately homes of Lancashire, a haven for history lovers, where the past meets the present
CRITCH TRAMWAY VILLAGE, the home of the National Tramway Museum in the heart of the Derbyshire Countryside.
The coach will drop us off in the centre of the village.
On arrival collect your old penny to pay the conductor your tram fare, and receive a ticket you can use all day. Trams depart regularly from town end, calling at various stops along the mile long track.
The exhibition takes you through a hundred years of tramway development from the first horse drawn trams through to steam and electric.
All parts of the village are easily accessible with smooth routes and ramps and lifts to all buildings. There are a variety of catering facilities on site, such as Rita’s Tea room
The Red Lion Pub
An Aladdin’s cave of treats. Old fashioned jars of sweets, tins of confectionary, foil wrapped bars of fudge and toffee, all jostle for space in the period shop.
David Barker organised an outing to Porthmadog on Monday September 5th. 2016
The itinery was as follows:
Travel through the spectacular Snowdonia National Park to Portmaddog.
Board the Ffestiniog Railway for the scenic one hour long journey.
Many thanks to Janet Palmer for organising an outing to Moreton in the Marsh & Sezincote House
A large party (53 seat plus 27 seat coaches) of Phoenix members enjoyed a wonderful day in the Cotswolds.
Please click on photographs to enlarge.
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