IAgrE South East Midlands Branch have arranged an interesting event at Wrest Park, Silsoe, Bedfordshire, MK454HR, on Saturday 14 May (12-5pm) to recall the history and celebrate the global impact of the research carried out by the 'National Institute of Agricultural Engineering' from its origins at Askham Bryan in Yorkshire in 1924, through the evolution and closure of Silsoe Research Institute (in 2006) and beyond, including the important work still being carried out 'behind the scenes' at Wrest Park today.
This is a joint event with English Heritage and the Wrest Park ex-colleagues Association (The Wrest Park Group). Entrance to this 'private' event is free, as it is kindly being co-sponsored by IAgrE and The Wrest Park Group, the event also forming their annual Reunion. Light refreshments will be provided. The English Heritage Visitor Centre is nearby for light lunches, and if you wish to 'make a day of it' to view the beautiful restored gardens, further details of the facilities, entrance charge and directions are available on the English Heritage website
Please note that entry will only be permitted via the front door of the Mansion, where you will be required to 'sign in', so please use the car park just beyond the Mansion (ie do not follow the signs to the English Heritage Visitors car park). Stewards will be available.
In addition to an exhibition of photographs, posters and videos depicting both the social and engineering aspects of the Institute in the 'State Rooms' on the ground floor of the Mansion, there will be a few examples of 'old' and 'new' machines displayed outside, illustrating how design of modern equipment has evolved through application of research at 'The Institute'.
There will also be two 40-45 minute lectures:
• 1pm: Richard Luscombe (an English Heritage historian) will provide an update on research by English Heritage into the 'The Early Years' of NIAE (ie before it was established at Wrest Park) and the mansion (including the 'Wallpaper Rooms', the gradual return of paintings, the 'hidden' theatre in the Dining Room and ongoing restoration of the gardens).
• 3pm: Dr Paul Miller, a local IAgrE Branch Member who has been involved in leading research at Wrest Park throughout his career (and is still working there today, along with other ex-SRI employees) will look back on the research and social activities at Wrest Park, and bring us up to date.
This is a private event and prior registration is required by English Heritage. If you would like to attend and have not already registered (via Edwina Holden) as a member of The Wrest Park Group, please contact Alan Plom (via [email protected] or 07951 527051) as soon as possible, as spaces are limited to the first 100 applicants. Although this is a free event, please let Alan know if you are unable to attend in the run-up to the event, so others may take your place.