Welcome to The Arts Society Hereford

Our aim is to entertain and educate through first class lecturers, visits and opportunities to volunteer. Our voluntary work includes church recording; church trails and safeguarding our heritage through repairing and restoration projects.

Illustrated expert lectures cover a wide variety of topics including architecture, art and design, ceramics, glass, painting, music, furniture, sculpture, jewellery and much more, covering prehistory to modern times.

Visits may include country houses, exhibitions, gardens and other places of interest. We also organise "pop-up" visits in addition to those in the programme. These will be at shorter notice but will be well publicised at lectures, on the website and via email. Please look out for them!


 We are pleased to report that the society has continued to grow in strength, activities and numbers.

We started the year in October with 95 members; by January, this had  risen to 109 members with more people who have come regularly to lectures since then paying the guest donation. 

In April, at a most enjoyable lunch at the Castle Hotel we celebrated the first l0 years of the society and 50 years since NADFAS was founded.

Our 2017-2018 programrne has given us eight very well received lectures and generated useful evaluation to send to The Arts Society House in London. Society evaluations are the means by which The Arts Society Directory standard is maintained. We  endeavour to build programmes that reflect members ‘requests and include current exhibitions, anniversaries and trends in all branches of the arts. We were delighted to include Stephen Richardson who lectured on The History of Burlington House in this year of the 250th anniversary of The Royal Academy of Arts.  By popular demand, he returns in December with The Return of The Kings:  Fashionable Living in 1660-1760.

Our exciting new programme will include the Impressionists, Claude Monet and Vincent Van Gogh, both subjects of forthcoming London exhibitions. We have also invited two lecturers new to the Directory who will be coming to our society at the beginning of their association with The Arts Society.

Our December 2017 lecture was regretfully cancelled due to poor weather conditions; John Travis has kindly agreed to give this as an extra lecture in September 2018.

The first of two Pop-up Visits over 2017 - 2018 took place on 30 October: a private viewing of the newly refurbished Black & White House Museum in Hereford, featuring the crewel work bed hangings created in a five-year collaboration among The Arts Societies of Hereford, Ross, and Malvern. The 12 Heritage Volunteers devoted 7158 hours to making the beautiful hangings. Sally Zeisler, designer and project leader, spoke about her inspiration for the 40 different stitches used.

Our second visit was by train for a gardener-led tour of Winterbourne Botanic Garden on 23 May. The Grade II listed Arts & Crafts garden includes plants, shrubs and trees from around the world collected by owners before Winterbournes house and gardens were given to the University of Birmingham in 1944.

Our next Pop-up Visit will be a private viewing of the new Heritage Suite in Hereford Town Hall to see the historic city charters and silver. Hereford has many treasures hitherto hidden in a vault in the cellars - from the charter granted by Richard I in 1189 to 21 more granted by monarchs over the centuries, gleaming silver, ceremonial swords and maces as well as the Mayor's Parlour.

Visits are usually to places that can be reached by train or car, unless demand justifies hiring a coach. We  enjoy providing  the opportunity for  members to share  the experience of visits, but these  cannot be subsidised by the society.

Heritage Volunteers (HVs) are well along with the effort to revive the Blackfriars Rose Gardens in Widemarsh Street  behind the Coningsby Hospital & Museum: Deadheading & light  weeding every two weeks or so, began in September 2017 and resumes in June 2018. HVs also pruned all the roses last November.  Anyone who might like to Join us is welcome -  the next session will be  on Wednesday 20thJune at 10:30; bring secateurs! Our presence in the gardens makes a difference to the roses and encourages others in the community to participate. Researching the history of the site & gardens took place in the Herefordshire  Archives & Records Centre in January & February,  launched with an introduction by David  Whitehead, our Arts Society adviser. He discovered that the first l0 rose beds were planted in March 1964.  The complete history will be loaded onto the national database at the end  of the year.

Chris Hemming and Jan Tucker have been working this past year on a Children's Trail (shortly to be renamed Discovery Trails) for St Michael and All Angels at Croft Castle. The  church and its history proved fascinating and  the church is well worth a visit. Although next to Croft Castle, it is not owned by the National Trust but i run by the local diocese. The trail is  finished and ready to be presented. They have also begun a new trail at All Saints, Brockharnpton. This is a church from the Arts and Crafts period, well worth a visit and full of treasures, many of which were crafted locally. The next trail is set to be St Mary the Virgin, Burghill. If any member would like advice on making a trail for their church, Chris and Jan would be happy to advise.

We are pleased  to report  the recent purchase of two stand up, portable banners which  represent The Arts Society Hereford. They will be used to promote and raise awareness  of our Society at various events in and around Hereford. The banners  were designed *in house', with invaluable input from Graphic Designer, Mike Warnock and were printed locally. After some negotiation and support from James Wilkins, Membership Director of The Arts Society London, we  were very pleased to receive a grant to cover the cost  of the banners.

We continue to maintain our presence at the Ledbury Community Day.  As in previous years, the event has  attracted several new members and the variety of our programme has been a powerful attraction.

The radio microphone is an ongoing problem. These systems can be prone to picking up interference and, in spite of a complete change of type, it continues to be an issue. We are aware that the members’ enjoyment of the lectures is affected, but everything possible is being done to isolate the source of the interference.

The Notice board and  website have been further developed during the year and seems to be well received.

It is with regret that we announce Peter Bishop's retirement as Treasurer. He has kept us on a straight path and we are very grateful to him. Stephanie Habbitts has kindly agreed to  take over the role.


Return to the Green Dragon Hotel.

A warm welcome to the 2019/2020 lecture season for established members, new members and guests.
For the season of lectures, starting on Tuesday 8th October 2019, our society returns to the Green dragon Hotel in Broad Street Hereford which has been completely refurbished. As most of our members will know, the lectures are held in the hotel ballroom and start promptly at 2:30pm on the second Tuesday of each month.
In a change to the established routine of serving refreshments after the lecture, tea & coffee will now be available before the lecture. In order for our speakers to begin their talks on time at 2:30, may we respectfully request everyone arrives in good time to take refreshments and be seated for 2:15pm.