‘Absolutely Art’ – A celebration of colourful creativity at Letchworth Settlement

As part of a continued drive to showcase the work of its students to as wide a public audience as possible, Letchworth Settlement is once again hosting a town centre exhibition.
Developed in partnership with the Heritage Foundation, ‘Absolutely Art’ will feature pieces from every stage of the creative journey, from beginner to the more complex designs of experienced students.
Based at the Community Museum situated in The Arcade shopping precinct in Letchworth town centre, the exhibition will feature a diverse range of artistic mediums including water colour, abstract and oil and promises to give visitors a real insight into what can be achieved when studying at The Settlement.
It will run from 11am to 4pm on Thursday 30th March to Saturday 1st April and again from Thursday 6th April to Saturday 8th April.
Settlement Manager Sonia Weston explained: “The standard of work produced by our art students at is often quite inspiring and it is important that people have an opportunity to see what they have achieved since the start of term. The work has been selected to illustrate the diversity of art done here and I want to thank all those contributors and tutors who have dedicated their time and talent to getting ready for the show.
“Many of our students will start with very little experience and will develop their skills and confidence within our supportive learning environment.”

New series of cake and craft workshops at The Settlement

Do you like the idea creating something both lovely and practical under the expert eye of an experienced tutor whilst enjoying a slice of cake? Then why don’t you come along to one of The Settlement’s new cake and craft workshops.
Starting on February 23 with Card Craft, the new series of workshops have been designed with fun in mind and at only two hours per session, should be ‘ do-able’ even for the busiest of people.
The Card Craft session runs from 7.15pm until 9.15pm and participants will learn how to use a variety of everyday materials to make a card for a special event.*
Improved and refined following feedback from last year’s successful cake and craft workshops, this new series has something for everyone and in some instances has been themed around key calendar events such as Easter.
Sonia Weston, Settlement Manager, said: “A great deal of thought and imagination has gone into the planning of our cake and craft workshops. We wanted to give students, who perhaps cannot commit to longer courses, an opportunity to try something different in a supportive learning environment.
“The feedback from students has helped us hugely and we are looking to attract both new faces and old friends. The workshops are taking place both during the day and in the evening which we hope give wider opportunities for busy people looking for something different.”
Student, Sarah Half-Penny attended a course last year. She said “As a busy mum with little time for me, I was pleased to see that Letchworth Settlement has started to do two hour Craft and Cake workshops. I attended the Fabric and Felt Flower workshop and thoroughly enjoyed it. I was so pleased to have produced three felt flowers during the workshop and felt a real sense of achievement.”
Tutor Tracey Merryweather added: “Participants need not have huge amounts of craft making experience, the sessions have been created to ensure that everyone who attends can utilise the opportunity and make something lovely for their friends, families and even for themselves. Full support is always provided and the cake keeps everyone bouncing along.”

The past, present and future of the Fitzwilliam Museum

The Settlement’s popular series of Twilight Talks returns on February 16th with an illustrated lecture about the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge.

Presented by Fitzwilliam Director Tim Knox, the lecture is entitled “That ‘Noble Repository’: The Fitzwilliam Museum in its third century.”

Brought up in Nigeria and Fiji, Tim studied History of Art at the Courtauld Institute of Art. He was Assistant Curator at the RIBA Drawings Collection, 1989-95, and moved to the National Trust, first as its Architectural Historian, becoming its Head Curator in 2002. Between 2005 and 2013, he was Director of Sir John Soane’s Museum in London.

He is a member of the National Heritage Memorial Fund Advisory Committee, a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London and a Member of the Society of Dilettanti.

It promises to be a wonderful evening and doors open at 7.30pm for a 7.45pm start. Tickets cost £9 which includes a glass of wine.

For booking check out our website www.letchworthsettlement.org.uk or contact the office on 01462 682828. Tickets are also available at David’s bookshop.

Life at The Settlement in WWII

Archive Reflections by Roy Evans

A recent inquiry from the family of Mr and Mrs TW Higgs has thrown up some fascinating information about Settlement life during the Second World War.
Mr and Mrs Higgs were caretakers from 1936 until their retirement in 1963. They lived at The Settlement in the flat upstairs. The flat was self-contained with a door at the top of the stairs. The cupboard on the right was the larder. Room 3 was originally two rooms.
The ‘Minute Books’ refer to many war-related requirements plus other details.
On appointment the Higgs were given an allowance of 2/6d per week for the cost of cooking by electricity. In September 1939 mention was made of the large amount of extra work put in by Mr and Mrs Higgs during their holiday. In November 1939 Mr Higgs contribution to black-out arrangements was mentioned.
In September 1939 The Settlement’s Chairman would see Police for permission to hold meetings.
In 1940 as much coal and coke as could be stored would be purchased.
Air-Raid Precautions
Windows had been papered. The ladies cloakroom (now part of the Garden Room) had been converted into a Shelter for Mrs Higgs and family.
Passage windows were boarded up so that people could file along the passage in safety in case of a warning being sounded. Buckets of sand, a shovel and first aid box were also provided. Two ARP (Air Raid wardens) lectures were given in the Nevells Road area.
The idea was that if The Settlement provided one person per week, then the interests of The Settlement will be watched by the Nevells Road, Firewatchers.
In 1943 the roller towels and tea towels needed to be replaced. Permission was granted to apply for coupons from the Food Office and the order could be placed.
Mr Higgs was authorised to buy a stock a household articles including dusters from Spinks sale for 18/1 3/4d.
During the Second World War Settlement life was very busy with many social events and constant players’ performances plus the usual range of courses.
In 1939/40 Italian, French, Spanish and German courses were still on offer!

Totally Textiles’ – A Celebration of Creative Talent at Letchworth Settlement.

In an exciting new venture, Letchworth Settlement has teamed up with the Heritage Foundation to showcase the artistic talents of its textile students during a special exhibition at the Community Museum situated in The Arcade shopping precinct.
Featuring dynamic displays and thought provoking pieces, the exhibition will be open to visitors over a two week period running from October into November.
The first session runs from Thursday 27th to Saturday 29th October. Doors open again from Thursday 3rd to Saturday 5th November. The exhibition will be open from 11am until 4pm.
The work has been selected for its quality and artistry and gives a positive insight into the quality of teaching and output at The Settlement which is one of the few surviving independent adult education centres in the country.