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The History Group

Leader:  Ronald (Yogi) Godwin - history@ashbyu3a.co.uk - phone 01530 467840

Yogi is ably assisted by Jane Barnett, Barbara Ball, Colin Ellis, Jane Harris and Isobel Salt

Contrary to what you may have heard, the Group is NOT closing but is continuing for at least next year.

All Ashby u3a members are welcome at our meetings.

All meetings with speakers will be held at Packington Memorial Hall on the 4th Thursday of the month.
Doors open for Packington meetings at 2.15pm. Admission £2

Details of visits will be advised closer to the time.
The following dates have been arranged, but may be subject to changes which will be announced as and when they are known.

Future programme
DateTimeVenueSpeaker & SubjectDetails

Thu 25th Jul2:15 pmPackington Village Hall.Janet Barrass - 'Bonnie Prince Charlie'The story of the man, his history, his claim, his early battles and the humiliation
Thu 29th AugTBACoach trip to the city of BathColin EllisThere is ‘bags’ to see, the Roman baths, cathedral etc. The date has been changed to avoid Bank Holiday road conditions. Full details, inc. cost and timings, to follow.
Thu 26th Sep2:15 pmPackington Village Hall.Yogi Godwin - 'The 1849 Health Report on Ashby'A scathing report on a town with appalling conditions of hygiene.
Thu 24th Oct2:15 pmPackington Village Hall.Several magistrates - 'Tales from the Court'They wish to explain their roles, their stories and to listen to your views.
Thu 28th Nov2:15 pmPackington Village Hall.Dandy Loong - 'From the fury of Norsemen deliver us.'
Thu 26th Dec - No Meeting

Thursday 27th June. 'Mary Quant' by Ruth Lowe

Ruth Lowe, a professional speaker on the 60’s, gave a most enlightening presentation on Mary Quant and the rise of youth culture in dress and cosmetics in the late 50s, the 60s and 70s.

She had a comprehensive array of clothing from dresses, jackets and other outerwear to other more intimate articles, accessories and cosmetics of all kinds.

In the classic black and white checkerboard Quant plasticised dress, with matching trademark cap and high white boots, Ruth told the story of Mary’s rise from her East London roots to the initiator of a revolution in youth couture that is still dominating the market today.

Her parents were from mining stock, but both had worked hard to take university degrees in an age when less than 5% of the population achieved this.

Mary herself was born in 1930, and despite being shunted from school to school after the War, managed to get a toehold in the rag trade in Brook Street on leaving school.

She started out making hats and honed her dress making and design skills altering and repurposing castoffs, and later extensively using material from Harrods. This trade is notorious for the fluid and migratory nature of the participants, and she moved around from location to location, settling eventually in the King’s Road in London’s West End.

She specialised in hats, handbags, belts and other accessories to complement her designs. Many of her trademark items were worn by the stars of the time: Ruth showed a hairy jacket worn by John Lennon, among other priceless originals on her clothes rack.

As the youth market grew, she introduced ranges of cosmetics aimed at the young, in a time when these were sported by more mature ladies.

Ruth had an endless stream of garments of all kinds, many quite puzzling to the men along with underwear, plastic raincoats and shoes, and the iconic ‘little black number’ that your correspondent is told every woman should have in her wardrobe.

One of the first to use the wonder fabric, Crimplene, she showed skills many dressmakers would envy in handling modern stretchy materials

Breaking into the American market needed her to scale up her manufacturing process, bringing her on the world fashion stage. Her styles and designs marched in time to the new world of youth couture, matching the dramatic changes in the music scene from a generally middle-aged style to a new youth oriented social scene.

Ruth walked (at times strutted!) us through the history and products of this remarkable woman, in a way that even we men could grasp, with a bewildering display of products and pictures. Many of them originals and some actually worn by the stars of the time.

The world was never the same after Mary. And we will not be the same after this reminder of our youth.

Earlier history meeting