Update to Milton Heritage Society Membership re the History Talk on Friday 16th of October 2020

Dear MHS member

On Friday 16th of October 2020 we had planned to present to you a talk on the history of Exbury Gardens. Sadly the speaker and head gardener, Tom Clarke is no longer able to give the talk owing to health issues. He has said that he will come to give us the talk next season.

Instead we are very fortunate to have MHS committee member Philip Benstead step in as a last minute replacement.

His talk is on;

Building The Direct Line to Bournemouth – 1883 to 1888.

A tale of self-interest, optimism, naivety, fraud, bankruptcy, incompetence, arrogance, violent deaths, royalty & religion with congratulations to the non-participants & ignorance of the achievers. 

Before the so called, ‘Direct Line’, just ten miles long, was built the chief engineer of the LSWR declared that, “No substantive difficulties would be encountered”. 

The line opened two years late after bankrupting the contractors and was later described by the LSWR as “the most difficult of lines”. 

The talk opens with an overview of the socio-economic conditions in the 1800s and the existing rail network followed by how the politics of planning a line through the New Forest and land owned by powerful men was managed. A visual tour of the line, stopping along the way for a raft of anecdotes and stories, that paint pictures from outrage to tragedy & triumph. 

If only one of the main participants had been a gardener?

Philip is a lifelong railway enthusiast and has been involved in designing and implementing major capital projects around the world. 

After reading Jude James book on the ‘Direct Line’ he was intrigued by the story and during lock down, as his daily exercise, cycled to every part of the line to examine it at first hand.

The talk is starting at 7.00pm on Friday 16th of October 2020 at the Memorial centre and via Zoom. We have been allowed 40 persons in the hall. That is now fully booked. We are able to take more bookings for Zoom attendance to the talk. Please contact the secretary, Steve West for booking details via secretary@miltonheritagesociety.co.uk

Nick Saunders

Milton Heritage Society.

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