Category Archives: Visits

Conishead Priory & Ulverston Visit

In March, 33 members went on a trip to the Buddhist Centre at Conishead Priory near Ulverston.

u3a Conishead priory

Our guide was Geoff, a very calm, quietly-spoken man, who has lived in the community for many years. First, he told us the history of the Priory. Originally a 12th century Augustinian priory, founded as a hospital for the poor, in 1537 it was seized and demolished by the Crown and a house was built on the site. The house became home to various wealthy families, the most influential being the Braddylls, who lived there for almost two centuries. In 1821, Col Thomas Braddyll had the house rebuilt. It took 15 years to complete this Gothic mansion and £140,000 of his fortune. He then made heavy financial losses in Durham coal mines, was declared bankrupt and was forced to sell the property. It became a hydropathic hotel, a convalescent home for miners and during WW II the largest military hospital in the North West. In 1972, the house and contents were sold. It stood empty for five years until it was rescued from dereliction by the Buddhist community. They are still renovating the house, but the hub of the community is the magnificent Temple for World Peace, which they have built in the grounds.

This was the first Kadampa Temple to be built and it houses the largest bronze statue of Buddha to be cast in the West. Buddhist statues are hollow, but filled with ‘spiritually meaningful items’. The temple was built according to a traditional design, but is modern, light and airy with beautiful adornments: truly a feast for your eyes and a very peaceful space. We had many questions to ask Geoff, about the temple, Buddhism in general and how their community was run. Before long it was time to try a short meditation session.  Think many people gained something from this and will possibly practice the techniques some more.



Next stop Ulverston, where a group of us visited the Laurel and Hardy museum. Stan Laurel was born in Ulverston. The museum was full of information and memorabilia about his life and partnership with Oliver Hardy.  A bronze statue of them stands outside the Coronation Hall.

Thanks to everyone who supported the trip especially our drivers Hilary and Dave

Ann France


World of Glass Visit

After a prompt start and safe journey we arrived at The World Of Glass at St Helens and  were met by our tour guide.  The first thing we saw as we entered was a magnificent chandelier weighing almost 2 tons.  This had been presented to World of Glass by Manchester airport and had taken 2 days to hang in 2008.



Well it was quite a busy day with lots to see and take in.  We started with a film show telling the story of glass and what made St Helens great from humble beginnings to rise to world class leader in glass making.  Our guide was really informative chatting on our way as we progressed through to the Victorian furnace and underground tunnels built in 1887 by William Pilkington. Hard hats were the order of the day. We quickly realised how hard life must have been working underground in confined space, poor lighting and intensive heat.

It was so cold on the day when we visited that we next visited the café for a welcoming hot drink.  Before lunch we had a glass blowing demonstration.  It was fascinating to see a small ball of glass emerge into a multi coloured vase.  Think the fact that the glass blower was female worth a mention!

Lunch followed when we met up with our afternoon guide.  She accompanied us around the exhibitions of glass from all around the world answering questions as we went.  There is an Artisan Gift shop for those who wanted some retail therapy.  One thing we all went away with was the realisation of what an important part glass plays in our everyday lives.

Barry Price


Fred Dibnah Heritage Centre Visit

This was an opportunity to visit the Heritage Centre before it closes at the end of March. The current proprietor of the museum, and resident of Fred’s house, is auctioning off the contents/exhibits of the museum on Saturday 17th March. This will be the last chance to obtain a memento and permanent reminder of Fred Dibnah.

The weather was not particularly welcoming, it probably being the coldest day of the year, but nine hardy souls turned up at the appointed time. The proprietor, Leon Powsney, conducted the tour which was made extremely interesting through the very many amusing anecdotes about Fred, his mates and the many escapades they went through together.

The tour included time in Fred’s workshop when there was an opportunity to buy a memento or two. Also a ‘recovery period’ in Fred’s house, where a cup of hot tea/coffee was enjoyed by all in the welcoming warm house.

May I thank all those who braved the elements and helped to make the visit a success.

Barry Price

Visit To The Alabaster Jar

Three of the visits group (original number depleted by illness) went to the Alabaster Jar last week to decorate some pottery and had a very enjoyable time.  We expect to see the results of our artistry some time this week.

The Alabaster Jar in Chorley has a wide selection of pottery pieces – mugs, jugs, plates, Christmas decorations – from which you select what you want and then decorate them with glazes provided by the shop.  Once your artwork is finished it is glazed and fired by the owners of the shop and is ready about a week later.  It is fun and very well run by the extremely helpful owners for whom nothing is too much trouble.

Janet Thomas

Media city Visit

Media city Saturday October 7th

On arrival, the group split up for the next hour or so, to either go to cafes or The Lowry museum or shopping.


Everyone arrived on time to go through security for the BBC Tour, which was straight forward.

The tour was extremely informative and various members of the group participated in  areas  such as radio presenters or In the Breakfast TV programme We had 2 newsreaders and I was a weather forecaster,  but Carol Kirkwoods job is quite secure !

It was very interesting to see the BBC in action, both the radio and  TV and meeting staff from both areas.

After the visit there was time for shopping, food or  a visit to the Lowry.

Altogether everyone seemed to enjoy a busy day but an interesting one

Thanks to Hilary Morris for driving and calmly sorting out the extremely complicated parking payment arrangements

Evelyn Berry


Boules Taster Session

WHERE – Black Horse Croston

WHEN – 10:30 AM to 15:00 PM on Friday 8th Sept 2017


  • 10:30AM –  Meet at Leyland Leisure Centre REAR Car Park, Depart in shared vehicles.
  • 11:00AM –  Arrive Black Horse Croston for Coffee/Tea, Bikkies; Order pub lunch….(all food and drink to be paid for by each person.)
  • Boules (Petanque) FIPJP rules and demo. Options on single and doubles play to any rules we feel appropriate!
  • 12:30 ish Lunch and discuss format for afternoon play
  • 13:30 ish Afternoon play, possibly round robin style and team target boules (Bring some cash!)
  • 15:00pm Depart back to Leyland

Contact: Andy Vurley – 07909-534885 or Alan Fairey – 01772431348

Please feel free to bring your own Boules along, but let Andy know – “Ching Ching

Visits Group at the Southport Flower Show

After an inauspicious start, with vast quantities of rain, we had a fantastic day out at Southport.

There was plenty of shelter, displays, food & flower arranging demonstrations  & lots of  freebies.

In the afternoon, the sun was shining, dogs were competing, birds of prey were in action and there  was even a Ukulele band playing Matchstalk Men

CLICK on images to view LARGER

Admittedly my raffle prize got banged about a bit on the way home & was clumsily repaired. (I bet a Leyland U3A) flower arranging class could do better

Many thanks to Hilary for driving

If you enjoyed today, look out for our trip in April when we will be making Hanging Baskets.