MASONIC HALL, GRAVESEND – 10:30 A.M. START 

The annual general meeting will be held in the Masonic Hall, Gravesend and will commence at 10.30 am. It will be followed by a lecture from Patricia Wright: The strange History of Buckingham Palace.


  1. Apologies for absence.
  2. To approve the minutes of the annual General Meeting held on 10 May 2016
  3. To receive and approve the reports of the committee.
  4. To receive and approve the annual accounts for the year ended 30th June 2016
  5. To appoint the auditor for the ensuing year.
  6. To elect officers and committee members.

Chairman                                     Hazel Teale

Vice Chairman                                      vacant

Secretary                                                 Joan Uzupris

Treasurer                                                 John Thompson

Membership secretary                            Val Torreggiani

Programme Secretaries                             Helen Beck             Susan Shirley

Visit Secretaries                                          Vacant                      Vacant

General  Committee members                          Vivien Sims   Denise Burton   Heather Bissom

7. President’s Address

8. To vote on the Special Resolution

That Gravesend and District Decorative and Fine Arts Society changes its name to The Arts Society – Gravesend. In line with both the National organisation and Kent Area from September 2017.

Proposed by                         Hazel Teale

Seconded by                    Diane Steltner



Gravesend and Northfleet Decorative and Fine Arts Society

Minutes of the 24th Annual General Meeting

Held at the Masonic Hall Gravesend on Tuesday 10th May 2016

Lee Cary the retiring Chairman welcomed members to the meeting and introduced the present Committee

  1. Apologies for Absence

Were received from Gill Pearson, Hazel Teale, Pamela Goodwin, Margaret Harris, Lina Harmer, Faith Woolston, June Ketcher, Pat Murchison, Ann Stern, Jean Woodrop, Geoff Woolgar, Pat Woodford and Brian Pigden.

  1. The Minutes of the 2015 AGM

Following the correction of Pam Debnam’s name these were presented for approval.

Proposed         Lyn Rumsey

Seconded        Diane Steltner

Carried unanimously.

  1. To received and approve committee reports

The reports had been circulated in advance of the meeting and approval was sought.

The Chairman, however, read her report.

Proposed         Joy Hamilton

Seconded        Linda Cooper

Carried unanimously.

  1. (a) To receive and approve the Annual Accounts

The Treasurer presented the accounts for the year to 30th June 2015 which had been circulated in advance of the meeting and made the following comments. Owing to a computer error the un-presented cheques were omitted from the Reconciliation of movements. Please amend your accounts to read un-presented cheques £52.58 which gives an overall surplus for the year of £6,489.30 gross.

The net surplus for the year was £2,162.80. This figure is an adjustment of the gross figure less advance membership payments and outstanding invoices. The membership fee increased to £47.50 per annum and the guest fee to £6.50 in July 2015. Speakers’ charges and travelling expenses continue to rise. No membership fee increase is recommended for this year so the membership fee remains at £47.50 per annum.

Proposed         Susan Shirley

Seconded        Helen Beck

Carried unanimously

(b) To vote on next year’s Visitors’ fee to the Society

Members were then asked to vote on the proposal to increase the visitors’ fee to £7.00 per visit.

Proposed         Pam Debnam’s

Seconded        Brenda Ambridge

Carried unanimously.

  1. Appointment of Auditor

Margaret Fuller has resigned from being the Society’s Auditor and a new one will be sought by Hazel Teale when she takes up her office as new Chairman in the coming year.

The Chairman then handed over the President Derek Woolston

The nominations for Committee for the coming year were:-

Chairman        Hazel Teale

Proposed         Diane Steltner

Seconded        Jane Burgin

Secretary        Joan Uzupris

Proposed         Lee Cary

Seconded        Joy Hamilton

Treasurer        John Thompson

Proposed         Anne Senneck

Seconded        Hazel Teale

The above were all agreed

The remainder of the Committee were agreed en bloc by the members. Susan Shirley and Helen Beck already on the Committee.

  1. President’s Address

Derek said that he had great pleasure in saying thank you to the committee for arranging such an enjoyable, educational and interesting year. Our programme had taken us through, art, antiques, music, social and architectural history as well as theatre.

Not long ago we were concerned about our falling membership but now we are running a waiting list again thanks to the member’s efforts and to those of the Chair and committee. Furthermore we held a very successful new members coffee morning here in January.

Several committee members are standing down this year and whilst we are sorry to see them go we are delighted that other members have offered to join the committee. It is only right that these duties should be shared around and I must say from personal experience that the task is enjoyable.

I am delighted that Hazel Teale, who is not able to be with us today, will be our Chair and she has held a number of committee posts in the past. This does of course mean that Lee Cary who has done so much for the Society will be leaving the committee but all is not lost because she is becoming Deputy Area Chair for the Kent Area of NADFAS.

It has been good to get to know a few of you a little better during my first year of two as President and Margaret Davies is standing ready in the wings to take over at the AGM next year.

Lee then asked the President to kindly present gifts from the Society to those members of the committee who are retiring. Eva Ford and Maureen Randall who had managed our programme so well. Sally Starbuck for keeping an eye on the finances, Anne Senneck, Secretary, and Margaret Fuller who has audited our books so well (who was not present but her gift would be delivered to her by Lee.

The President then handed the microphone back to the retiring Chairman who declared the AGM closed.



AGM Reports 2016 – 2017

Chairman’s Report

It has been a busy and exciting year for my first year as Chairmen and I want to thank all of the committee for being such a great support and for their hard work and dedication. I thank them on your behalf for their reports, which you will have read in the papers for this AGM. We have been fortunate in having several enjoyable trips and visits and I am sure you will agree with me that we have had many outstanding lectures.

We have a really vibrant society and that is in large measure due to everything they do. They are all volunteers and, as ever is the case, busy people. The saying if you want something done ask busy people certainly rings true with our committee. We are more than wiling to think of new ways to do things and to accommodate people who cannot give much time, so please think about offering some help.

I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate Lee Cary on being elected Chairman for the Kent Area, in what will be a challenging period with lots of developments to look forward to.

Lee and I attended the National AGM in May 2016 in London. It was an engaging session partly because of the more informal approach and partly because we had a lecture about the Art and Culture of Paris in the 1920’s and it included music played by a group of young musicians whose leader had been a recipient of a NADFAS Young Arts grant – and very good they were too.

I also attended the launch of the new name in London in January. I have circulated some information about it and you may well have read more on the national web site and in the Review. It will strike home more I am sure when we get the renamed and revamped Review in June.

I have also attended a number of Area meetings, firstly as Vice Chair, and now as Chair. These meetings are also valuable, as the Area is the link between the individual Societies and the National Association. It is also a very good way of hearing what other societies do and I know Helen and Sue find the lecture reports from other societies we get helpful in planning our programme.

Once again this year we have undertaken an enjoyable small volunteering project at Ightham Mote – arranged for us by Vivien Sims. The project covered three days in February. In all 10 members participated. The nature of the work meant that we only needed small groups each day. On the first two days we undertook book cleaning and checking them for damage particularly damp and mould as Ightham Mote suffered flood damage last year; and ceramic and china marking for the inventory. On the last day we undertook work on compiling a back up inventory to be stored away from the house in case of fire or other damage and loss. Some photos and a report are on our website. My thanks to all who participated.

Next year we celebrate not only the Golden Jubilee of NADFAS, but also our society’s Silver Jubilee. There will be more information coming out as we get nearer to 2018. I do hope you will all feel able to participate in some at least of the events being held.

Finally, my thanks to you, the members of our Society, for your continuing support, without you our Society would simply not exist and we would all be the poorer without it.

Hazel Teale

Membership Report

This year has been another strong year for GDDFAS Membership. We have welcomed a good number of new members and although we sadly lost some of our older members we have been able to keep the membership figure the same as last year. We hear from other Societies that Membership is falling but thanks to Gravesend and District Members our numbers are actually stable and potentially rising. Not only are we strong in membership but we also continue to have a very good attendance record at our lectures

We continue to welcome potential members who may then wish to join our waiting list. To facilitate new members joining during the year we are now operating a pro rata membership fee for those who join us later in the GDDFAS year, so please encourage your friends and family to visit and enquire about membership.

As you know we have been making a drive for email addresses as our Chair has instituted an occasional News Letter which we would like to distribute by email. Also we can communicate with you more quickly, cheaply and with much less effort than by post. AGM papers will be mainly distributed by email again this year. Please let us know if you change your address or have not been receiving emails so I can check our records.

Once again may I thank you for your loud voices, smiling faces and patience on the second Tuesday of each month. It is a pleasure to greet you all on behalf of your Society.

Val Torreggiani

Visits Report

We began 2016 with a January visit to the ballet to see Matthew Bourne’s production of Sleeping Beauty at Sadler’s Wells. It was well-received by all as being modern, inventive and exciting. Such wonderful costumes and dancing.

In April a group of our members enjoyed a 5 day holiday to Liverpool, visiting Sudbury Hall in Derbyshire en route. In Liverpool the group had guided tours of the city’s two cathedrals, the Walker Art Gallery, the Tate Liverpool Gallery, Port Sunlight village and Speke Hall. They also enjoyed a river cruise and were able to visit other attractions in the city in their free time. On the return journey they visited the Lowry on Salford Quays. A busy but enjoyable trip.

In May we visited Hatfield House, the home of the 7th Marquess and Marchioness of Salisbury, in Hertfordshire. The house was built in 1611, adjacent to the Old Palace of Hatfield, the home of Henry VIII’s children. We enjoyed an interesting guided tour of the house and were able to enjoy the wonderful “Rainbow” and “Ermine” portraits of Elizabeth I, as well as the stunning Long Gallery and King James Drawing Room amongst other areas. Afterwards we had time to visit the east and west gardens as well as the village of Old Hatfield.

In June there was a guided visit to Kew Palace with the guides dressed in costume. The group was able to visit areas such as the attics, which are not usually open to the general public. There was also time to enjoy the wonderful gardens.

In October we organised a visit to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London where we had booked a guided tour of objects in the European galleries with a connection to the Huguenots, following a fascinating lecture in July on that subject. Our guide took us in two groups and gave us valuable insight into the Huguenots and their influences on English design of furniture, porcelain, silver and textiles in the 16th and 17th centuries. With her help we discovered how they unified design and introduced an element of French panache to English interiors and fashion. After lunch in the stunning V and A restaurant we had enough time to explore personal interests in the various galleries.

There are already several visits planned for 2017 including an outing to Canterbury to see another Matthew Bourne ballet, a day trip to Belmont House in June and a holiday to Berlin.

Michel Robinson and Denise Burton

Programme Secretaries Report

In September 2016, Helen Beck and Sue Shirley began their new roles as Programme Secretaries. What a fascinating job and what a wealth of subjects there are available to explore.

In 2016-17 we have been treated to some excellent lectures with beautiful pictures and interesting anecdotes. We were given fascinating glimpses of Cornwall as painted by Stanhope-Forbes (before the surf boards), Stradivarius violins, Huguenot treasures and an exclusive peep inside the stunning Goldsmith Hall.

There were, however, two jewels in the crown that were outstanding. On 11th October 2016 David Phillips presented his lecture “Fine Art Forgery, Craftsmanship or Conjuring Trick?” We were allowed into a shadowy world of trickery and illusion that is the forger’s art, nowadays made somewhat more complex for the forger by forensic science and its sophisticated methods of analysis. To quote David Phillips “The best forger is yet to be caught ….”

On 10th January 2017 the New Year started with a lecture which was exceptional, “The Camden Town Group” with Linda Smith. She showed us work from the Post Impressionist movement in England, comparing their work with Cezanne, Van Gogh and Gauguin. She also showed the work of Walter Sickert in some detail, explaining his complex and symbolic compositions. We feel we will be seeing more of Linda Smith in the future and look forward to many more first class lectures in the coming year.

Helen Beck and Susan Shirley

NADFAS – Golden Jubilee 2018

Arts Fest

 This national initiative is designed to celebrate and showcase some of the incredible artistic talents of our members and Young Arts in our Jubilee Year of 2018.

We would like to invite you to support the project by contributing a piece of your own artwork with a theme reflecting local or regional aspects.

The project covers the full range of artwork not just paintings, so if your talents lies in some form of needlework, textiles, lacemaking, pottery, ceramics, sculpture, photography or any other medium we would be delighted to see it.

The deadline for submitting the work is the end of October 2017, so it can be displayed at our November meeting.

We are also planning a ‘Getting to Know The Arts Society event” in November or December so they would be on display there are well.

The intention is to end up with a display of members and Young Arts work from across the country at the National AGM in London next year.

If you are interested or want to find out more please contact Hazel Teale our Chairman or email