Events Programme for the Year


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The Clapham SocietyMeetings take place at Omnibus Theatre, 1 Clapham Common North Side, SW4 0QW. The talk starts at 8pm and our guest normally speaks for about 45 minutes, followed by 15 minutes for questions and discussion. The bar is open before and after, so do take advantage of that! Meetings are free and open to non-members, but donations are always welcome. Please arrive in good time.

Our meetings for 2022 appear below:

We have a page dedicated to walks to join from April to September each year.
The walks organised for 2022 are shown on the Walks page.

Studio Voltair Monday 17 January
The Regeneration of Studio Voltaire. After 27 years of being at the heart of Clapham’s community, leading arts organisation Studio Voltaire has just reopened following completion of a £2.8 million capital development. Laura Harford will offer insight into the history of the site and the build process, including the design plans by architects Matheson Whiteley, as well as discussing the exhibitions, studios and community events programme. The public space at Studio Voltaire has increased by 233% with a new community space, garden and café; the project has also, importantly, provided more affordable studios to ensure Clapham’s thriving artistic community is maintained.
Photo: Benedict Johnson


Diva HR St. Paul's opera Monday 21 February
St Paul’s Opera – how did that happen? In the short, dark days of January 2013, a plot was hatched to put on an opera at St Paul’s Church, Rectory Grove. The mad minds involved (for you’d need to be mad even to consider staging an opera from scratch) were the then vicar, Deborah Matthews; parishioner Patricia Ninian; and Patricia’s singing teacher, international soprano Jennifer McGregor. Puccini’s one-act opera Gianni Schicchi was chosen and the performance, just one night, was a sell-out; the die was cast. For this talk, Patricia Ninian will explain how St Paul’s Opera has grown. It now stages an ambitious opera over three nights every summer (2020 being the obvious exception), gala concerts and an annual masterclass given by tenor David Butt Philip.


Lucilla PostonMonday 21 March
The life course of health – we can’t start soon enough. This talk by Professor Lucilla Poston, CBE, Head of the Department of Women and Children’s Health at King’s College London (KCL), will update us on pregnancy research at King’s College London – Guy’s and St Thomas’ Trust. Illustrating the ‘Developmental Origins of Health and Disease’ hypothesis with examples from scientific literature, it will show how this is influencing public health advice about parenthood and the management of common complications of pregnancy. Professor Poston holds the Tommy’s Charity Chair of Maternal and Fetal Health.
Her research team aims to improve the health of women and their children in the UK and, globally, by better understanding the processes which lead to complications in pregnancy, particularly premature birth, gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia.


Morris DesignMonday 11 April
William Morris: Arts, Crafts, and so much more. The famous Merton Abbey works of the great Victorian designer were just four miles down the A24 from Clapham. John Hawks traces Morris’s life, character and the extraordinary range of his activities. After 25 years in advertising, John founded and managed Merton Abbey Mills arts and crafts centre in the abandoned Liberty silk printing works on the River Wandle – just upstream from the site of Morris’s works. He is a trustee of the Wandle Industrial Museum, a director of Wandle Heritage Limited, vice chair of Merton Priory Trust, and curator of the Chapter House Museum.


Grime and GlamourMonday 16 May
Grime and Glamour: London’s Wartime Volunteer Ambulance Service. Debutantes, taxi drivers, First World War veterans, car mechanics, knitwear models, secretaries – all kinds of people signed up to crew the auxiliary ambulance service during the Second World War. What were their lives like? What was the impact of working night after night during bombardment?
Naomi Clifford, whose latest book Under Fire explores the diaries of a London Auxiliary Ambulance driver in Chelsea, brings some of that world to you and identifies ambulance crews operating in Clapham.


Lambeth Palace LibraryMonday 20 June
Lambeth Palace Library: The New Building and its Collections. The new building for Lambeth Palace Library was completed in July 2020 and opened to the public in November 2021, housing the historic books, manuscripts and archives of Lambeth Palace and the Church of England Record Centre in purpose-built conditions for the first time. In this illustrated talk
Giles Mandelbrote will explain the reasons for the new building, how it was achieved and what it now contains. After working for nearly 15 years as a curator at the British Library. Giles became the Librarian and Archivist of Lambeth Palace Library in 2010, the year in which the Library celebrated its 400th anniversary.

There are no meetings in July and August

Trinity Hospice Garden 1988Monday 19 September – CANCELLED
We regret this talk has been cancelled due to the Bank Holiday on the 19th.
The History of the Garden of Royal Trinity Hospice. Alyson Wilson will trace the story of this lovely garden from the time it was laid it out for Clapham Place, the home of Denis Gauden where his friend Samuel Pepys died, to being the home of renowned plant collector MP George Hibbert, and through various ownerships to a redesign for the hospice by the American garden designer Lanning Roper, This beautifully maintained garden, one of the gems of Clapham, is regularly open to the public.

Monday 17 October
AGM – Speaker to be announced

Jenny Rossiter Monday 21 November
Women of Lambeth. Lambeth is the backdrop to the stories of some extraordinary women. Jenny Rossiter will provide an historical perspective on why we are more familiar with pioneering women of north rather than south London and provide a glimpse of mountaineers, artists, architects, actors, politicians, doctors, nurses, novelists, theatre directors, social reformers and campaigners, all women who have either lived, worked or set up organisations within Lambeth. Jenny is a founder member of Lambeth Tour Guides Association and has been involved in various voluntary organisations concerned with housing, homelessness and social welfare. In 2012 she wrote and published a book – Nobler and Better Things – about the work of Octavia Hill.

There is no meeting in December.

We hope that you will find this an interesting and varied programme with something to suit everyone.
If you have any suggestions for future meetings do please pass them on to
the Events Organiser, Christine Armstrong,

The walks organised this year are shown on the Walks page – updated anually in early spring.