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October 19, 2023 @ 6:00 pm - 10:00 pm

The Society’s Autumn Meeting, the 2023 Richard Lancelyn Green Lecture will be held on Thursday 19 October at the National Liberal Club at 1, Whitehall Place, London, SW1A 2HE, at 6.00pm for 6.45pm.  The Club is located on the corner of Whitehall Place and the Victoria Embankment, not far from Embankment and Charing Cross stations.  

The lecture will be preceded by an Extraordinary General Meeting.  The Council of the Society proposes to move to memberships renewing 365 days after the member joined for all new and very recently joined members. This change would only affect those new members joining the Society from 1 January 2023 – the annual subscription for all older existing memberships would continue to be due on 1st January each year.  A more comprehensive explanation is provided on the Extraordinary General Meeting Agenda.

The Extraordinary General Meeting will commence at 8pm.

Members and their guests may opt to attend the EGM only, for which there is no charge.  The EGM and the lecture is £14.00 per head or you may also dine beforehand at a cost of £48.00 per head.  The meeting and dining charge includes VAT and service but not drinks, which must be paid for on the night.  For those who choose to dine, the meal will comprise two courses; Overnight Kent lamb shoulder with boulangère potato, carrot purée & tender stem broccoli and pear and almond tart.  If you wish for the vegetarian alternative or have other dietary requirements, please advise your requirements when booking. The Club requires catering numbers and dietary information at least 15 days before the meeting date, so if you wish to dine before the meeting please book early and certainly before 4 October.

A cash bar will be open in the David Lloyd George Room on the first floor of the building from 6.00pm.  Dinner will be served promptly at 6.45pm in the David Lloyd George Room and will be followed by the meeting from around 8pm.  After the meeting, members may use the National Liberal Club bar.  

We are particularly honoured this year to have as our speaker Christopher Sugg who will talk about The Gas-Lights of London.  Before the advent of gas lighting, life largely revolved around daylight and, to some extent moonlight, both often affected by the weather and the time of year. For generations oil and candles had provided rudimentary lighting, both of which had to be refilled or replaced. Early gas production often relied on ‘private’ supplies with large houses and factories building their own gas plant close by. 

Despite the process being well developed by William Murdoch it had not been patented and it was the German-born entrepreneur, Friedrich Albrecht Winzer (later anglicised to Frederick Albert Winsor) who set out to convince the public that gas should be produced in a ‘gas works’ and piped through the streets to light them. In order to demonstrate this, he built a gas works in his own house in Pall Mall, very close to what is now the RAC Club – where you will find a Westminster Green Plaque commemorating this!

Thomas Sugg was an ironmonger in High Street, Hoxton, barely 3 miles from the excitement that was being produced by Winsor’s lectures in The Lyceum Theatre in the early 1800s and, according to Thomas’ grandson, William Thomas, he made and laid the pipework for the first demonstration of gas lighting from the retort in Pall Mall to the wall of Carlton House Terrace and from thence on with many ‘devices’ to illustrate the effect of gas illumination. Winsor’s aim was to raise enough money to form the first gas manufacturing company and claimed gas lighting to be his own invention. When he attempted to obtain a patent however, William Murdoch was able to block him explaining his prior knowledge and, ever since it is Murdoch who is considered the ‘father of gas lighting’.

Thomas Sugg’s son William was to take the interest in gas to a whole new level forming the company William Sugg & Co in 1837 and it was his son, William Thomas Sugg who carried the business through the Victorian era producing a huge number of products utilising gas.  Our speaker, Christopher Sugg, is the great grandson of William Thomas and re-started the manufacture of gas lighting himself at the time of the miner’s strike and the 3-day week in the 1970s and even today consults for the latest company carrying the proud name of William Sugg & Company.

He is ideally placed to tell us about gas-lighting – the very lights that lit the London of Sherlock Holmes. 

The Club requires catering numbers and dietary information at least 15 days before the meeting date, so if you wish to dine before the meeting please book early and certainly before 4 October. Applications for the meeting only should be sent to arrive no later than 11 October.  

Ideally, please book via the website www.sherlock-holmes.org.uk  but a manual booking form is also enclosed.  

Dress is smart casual and gentlemen are asked to wear a jacket and tie.  Anyone attending a Society function for the first time should bring along and display their yellow cards of introduction, so that we can identify them and introduce them to our members.  They should also note that applications are not normally acknowledged nor are tickets sent.  We look forward to seeing everyone on the night.  If an acknowledgement is required, please provide an e-mail address or a stamped, addressed envelope with your application.  

The Society likes to keep a record of its activities, including photographs of our meetings which are published in the Journal and on the Society’s website/Facebook page.  If you do not want to appear in a Society photograph please avoid being in any posed photographs and advise one of the meeting organisers.

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October 19, 2023
6:00 pm - 10:00 pm
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