Seahouses, Probus

Big waves with the tidal surge at Seahouses., Picture by Jane Coltman
Big waves with the tidal surge at Seahouses., Picture by Jane Coltman

Proceedings began with the sad news that one of our founder members Les Parsons had passed away. Les had been our auditor for many years and a stalwart of the bowls club. President Chris Hull led a minute’s silence.

Secretary Fraser Suffield reminded us that the annual lunch would take place at Bamburgh Golf Club in two weeks’ time. He also informed us that we would have two teams representing the club at Warkworth for the probus quiz.

Treasurer Forbes Grant said that funds were healthy and the bill for the annual lunch had been paid.

Our president then introduced speaker Isobel Gordon to talk about Mary Somerville (1780-1872).

Isobel’s talk was a fascinating insight into someone who championed women’s rights and had a deep interest in all things scientific. She met several eminent scientists, and was frowned upon for studying maths and algebra at a time when women did not participate in learning.

Her first husband, Sir Samuel Grey, died when she was 26, leaving her a widow with two children. Her second husband, William Somerville, encouraged her interest in sciences and they travelled widely, meeting people such as Sir Charles Lyell, who stimulated her interest in geology, and Sir David Brewster, who was eminent in optics.

Somerville College, Oxford was founded in her honour. Originally, it was Somerville Hall for female students of all denominations.

In 2016 her image was portrayed on the £10 note.

After a question and answer session, Roger Howell thanked Isobel for an illuminating and absorbing talk.