Unfortunately, Covid 19 did shut us down, and for much longer than anyone anticipated! We were about to embark on a detailed study of the Gothic period of architecture, which covers a long period, but shows some clear and interesting developments over that period.

Just before we had to stop, the group members had ‘volunteered’ to each study an aspect of one of the three recognised architectural developments and would have been presenting the results of their researches to the other group members…..

This must be the longest period anyone has ever had to do what the members teasingly call ‘their homework’ !!!!! So, no excuses about the dog eating it, or having it blow away in the wind, etc.etc.! (It has always been my impression that they actually do enjoy looking up the information and learning more in the process)!

As I am leaving the area, Colin South, one of the group members, has very kindly agreed to take up the role of Group Leader, and Janice Henderson will be his deputy. I am very grateful to both of them for this as it would have been a shame for the group to fold just when it was about to get (even more??!!) interesting!

We accompanied our learning with visits to various local relevant buildings, and I do hope this will continue, once  covid restrictions are finally lifted but it will need group members to assist in organising these.

I have enjoyed running the group and I really did learn from it, so I feel ready to go and look at buildings in Norfolk with renewed enthusiasm and a bit of knowledge. Thank you to all of the group for making this possible, but also an enjoyable experience – in the past, and, hopefully, in the future.

Christine London

The Buildings Appreciation Group “does what it says on the tin” !   We meet to discuss architectural styles through the ages, so that we can better appreciate the built environment around us, wherever we may be.We tend to concentrate on buildings in Great Britain since these provide us with actual examples. After a year or two of going “quickly” through the architectural styles in a fairly general way, we’ve now embarked on a slightly different strategy. Each person in the group volunteers to do some research on an aspect of the style currently under discussion, e.g. doors, windows, arches, etc. When we meet, we ‘report back’ individiually, by whatever means we choose (not obligatory – someone else can do this for you, if you wish).

We support our learning from the above, by visiting a local example of the period we’re studying. We have visited Butser Iron Age Farm, Boarhunt and Idsworth churches in the recent past. The members organise these, usually a fairly low-cost exercise. Occasionally, we have a guided tour of a place, where the same applies, plus contributing to the tour guide’s fee, of course.

We meet on the fourth Tuesday morning of each month, except August, from 10.30 to 12 noon, at the Nugee Room, in Sts. Peter & Paul Church at Wymering, for which there is a small charge to cover the cost of hiring the room and refreshments if required.

If you think you might enjoy this group, please get in touch with Colin via the website, or better still, join Portsdown U3A !

Group Leader: Colin South




Meeting Notes – February 2020


Our Group

2018 Visit to Salisbury

As Andrew Negus’ talk at the General Meeting had been so interesting we asked him to conduct a tour for us around Salisbury – which we did on 24th April. We got rather absorbed in the cathedral itself as Andrew pointed out items we’d otherwise have missed, so we didn’t get to tour the town!

In the cathedral is a wonderful large modern font, which we all thought was gorgeous, and Colin took a beautiful photo using its waters for an interesting effect. (Copies from me).

We were all in agreement that we would like to repeat the exercise later in the year, so listen out for an announcement later on as to when this will be.

Unfortunately, Shirley had a fall on the way back to the car park, and has sustained a broken collar bone. I am keeping in touch with her, and I am sure you will all wish her a speedy recovery.



2018 Visit to Idsworth Church

Eight people from the group visited this saxon ‘church in the field’ at Idsworth, on 24th July. Thanks to Chris for organising it.



We have continued to work our way through Norman cathedrals (or remains of, in some cases!). Several people chose ones they knew well, or even revisited. We’ve been intrigued to find some of the cathedrals seem to have very similar designs, despite the distances.

We ended the term on a high note (see photo), with a pre-arranged tour of the architecture of Chichester Cathedral, conducted by our knowledgeable guide,Alan. Near the Lady Chapel, he pointed out four different styles of architecture in a relatively small space, proof of the adaptability of the masons. We ended with a short, but fascinating talk by the Clerk of Works, who spared us some time from his very busy schedule up on the roof, to tell us about the work being done up there (we could hear it!).

We have a varied programme for next term, when we will be embarking on the influential Gothic styles. In October, we hope to visit Winchester Cathedral and, taking advantage of the extra Tuesday, we will have a talk by a group member, David, on Portsmouth Cathedral, which we will follow up in December with a tour conducted by him, followed by tea and an invitation to attend Evensong. Our “Christmas lunch” will be at South Downs college in January 2020! Our February meeting will be a talk by a local architect, Martin Critchley, about his work , with specific reference to buildings in Havant. In March, David hopes to arrange for us to visit churches in the Meonstoke and Corhampton area.

As we meet in the Nugee Room at the church of Sts. Peter & Paul in Wymering, we could take one or two new members, if you would like to join us.

Visit to Chichester Cathedral