2019 – 2020 Milton Heritage Society talks

Will take place at the New Milton Memorial Centre, Commencing at 7 p.m. on the dates below:

13th September 2019
Philip Benstead FIET, AOC, ARIN – Local aspects on the RADAR defence of Great Britain before, during and after WWII
Philip has worked across the aerospace industry for over 55 years and still acts as an Aerospace and Renewables Consultant. Amongst other aerospace systems, he has developed a range of RADA and with his interest in the historical aspects of technology has researched the rich local related activities from the 1930s through to the Cold War period. His talk focuses on the early development of what is now known as ‘RADAR’ in the local area. He goes on to describe how important local sites were to the whole WWll air defence efforts then also into the Cold War period and also answer such burning questions as:-
– Why did a small Hampshire village suddenly attract VIPs from all over the UK?
– Who invented ‘RADAR’ (Radio Detection And Ranging)?
– How did a radar developed in Christchurch affect chickens all over the UK?
– How did a milk float with empty bottles help kick start the development of British radar?
– Why were RAF personnel at Sopley regularly ‘seasick’?
– Which Birmingham invention was used locally to dramatically help the war effort and bring the USA politically closer?
Philip will show simple building materials that were employed in the early
days and contrast it with the technology of a modern RADAR receiver.

11th October 2019
James Brown MSc – Community Archæologist, New Forest National Park Authority New Forest Navy – from hunting forest to iron ships via Acts, Inclosure, Politics & Mapping
James is not only the Community Archæologist at the New Forest National Park Authority but also serves as Sustainable Transport Officer responsible for Walking and Cycling projects within the New Forest. James’s presentation is a bit of a canter from medieval hunting forest in 1600 through to the 1850s, exploring the changes in the New Forest from one of pleasure to one of industry and production nurseries with consideration of the various politics, controls, headaches and the lasting legacies that you can still see today. This will be an overview approach that will potentially prompt members and guests to take up some research challenges to add to our New Forest knowledge. As a scene setter you might want to visit the current exhibition at St Barbe Museum, Lymington, “Command of the Seas”, which runs until 1st September.

8th November 2019
Nick Saunders BA (Hons)
A walk around Milton Green in old postcard images and maps
Nick Saunders, BA (Hons), is a local historian and Chairman of the Milton Heritage Society. In 2018 he graduated from the Open University with a degree in history. He is currently working as an archivist in a military museum, an education guide at the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu and as a battlefield guide on the Somme, Ypres and Normandy sites. This relaxed ‘wander’ involves taking the armchair audience on a ‘then and now’ experience going around Old Milton using historic photos and postcard images and comparing them with modern day photos. During the course of the talk we will learn about the history of Milton Village, the church, the poor house and the use made of the village green.

10th January 2020
Dr. Katharine Walker – BCP Council and Bournemouth University Archæology at Hengistbury Head: Past, Present and Future
Dr. Katharine Walker is a prehistorian specialising in the Neolithic of northwest Europe who graduated with an MA (Distinction) in the European Neolithic from Cardiff University and completed a PhD at the University of Southampton. Her research has taken her across continental Europe including Scandinavia and to multi-period sites in Zambia. Katharine is also head of the Heritage Lottery Funded ‘Ecademy’ based at the New Forest Centre, Lyndhurst, as part of the “Our Past, Our Future Landscape Partnership Scheme” led by the New Forest National Park Authority. The primary aim of the project is to create an online gateway for researchers of all levels and abilities, called New Forest Knowledge, which brings together data from museums, libraries and archives with community submitted content.
Between Christchurch Harbour and the English Channel, Hengistbury Head has seen settlement and ceremony for more than 12,000 years. For some of its early prehistory, it was a headland overlooking a landscape submerged by rising sea. In later prehistory, it was a rich barrow cemetery before becoming one of the largest trading ports on the coast of southern Britain. In post-Roman times it was an important source of minerals and more recently a recreation area with its own visitor centre and museum. Several campaigns of excavation from 1911 onwards have highlighted the quality and extent of the activity on the Head. This presentation takes a tour through the excavations and individuals who have shaped our understanding of the archæology of this remarkable landscape. It then thinks about the future and what we still need to find out.

14th February 2020
Geraldine Beech – The Ordnance Survey and Ordnance Survey maps
Geraldine Beech spent almost all her working life at The National Archives, for most of that time working either in the public reading rooms (answering questions about anything from Domesday Book to the Suez Campaign) or as the Senior Map Curator, sometimes both at the same time! She has written a number of articles on cartographic history and, with her colleague Rose Mitchell, a book titled “Maps for Family and Local History”. For well over two hundred years, the Ordnance Survey has been the national mapping agency of Great Britain. Geraldine’s talk will describe its military origins and something of its history. It will also illustrate the range of maps and surveys it has produced (not all in this country) and include examples to show the changing depiction of the area in which we live.

13th March 2020
Prof. Tony King – Department of Archæology, Anthropology and Geography at the University of Winchester and Chairman and Excavation Director, New Forest History and Archæology Group
Romans in Brockenhurst and elsewhere in the New Forest
Final content of talk is to be confirmed.

Spring 2020
Guided Field Trip of Hengistbury Head, featuring 12,000 years of settlement and the archæological findings from the early 20th century, including entry to the Visitor Centre.
Details of the Field Trip are to be confirmed nearer the time, with thanks to Dr Katharine Walker.

If you have an interesting subject for, or are able to give a presentation on local history or heritage in the Parish of Milton and district, then please contact the Milton Heritage Society Speaker & Events Secretary, Clive Rigden via e-mail: or telephone: 07 860 526 679.

Visit our website at for more information on our local history and to see a wide range of images and maps of Milton Parish area.