The 2011 Conference was a great success,

and the sun shone too!

Location of the Conference Centre within the British Isles


The 2011 Annual BSS Conference was held at the Robinson Executive Centre in Wyboston Lakes, near St Neots on the Bedfordshire-Cambridgeshire border from Friday April 29th to Sunday May 1st 2011.  This venue offered a high level of comfort and convenience which is completely self contained with lectures, meals and accommodation all under the one roof and with all rooms having a TV, a safe, coffee/tea facilities and even an ironing board.

Dr Rebekah Higgitt, Curator for the History of Science and Technology at the National Maritime Museum, London delivered the 2011 Andrew Somerville Lecture:  "Ne quid pereat: researching and collecting sundials in the age of precision timekeeping"

We had twelve oral presentations! Apart from our Andrew Somerville lecturer our other speakers were John Davis, Allan Mills, John Lynes, Fred Sawyer, Chris Williams, Johan Wikander, Roger Bowling, Chris Daniel, Alastair Hunter, Frank King and Tony Moss. In the end we had 85 people attend and there were many interesting displays.

A coach tour of six dials was held on Saturday 30th April.  It visited the stained glass dial in Chicksands Priory, the four dials in the centre of Hitchin and the three-face pillar dial in Great Staughton.

A PDF of the Conference Programme may be viewed here.  The unusual layout is a consequence of the final version being designed to be folded down to pocket and handbag size for convenience.

The entrance to the Robinson Executive Centre

What did delegates think about the conference..?   Questionnaires were placed in all delegate wallets and an unprecedented number of these were sent back.  The analysis of these is summarised below.


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Want to see reviews of other BSS Annual Conferences? 

Click for Exeter (2010), Cheltenham (2012) or Edinburgh (2013)


Here are some pictures taken at the Conference

[click on any one for a larger image]



What did our delegates think about the conference?

Here's what our delegates thought about the Conference.
A summary of all presently received responses can be found by clicking this thumbnail:

Chart shows responses received by 17.07.11

Annual General Meeting The 2011 Annual General Meeting of the Society was held during the Conference and a short general discussion was held afterwards.

Dr Frank King was elected as the new Society Chairman
Mr Christopher Williams was elected as the new Secretary
Mr Graham Stapleton was elected again as Treasurer

Other elected Trustees were Mr John Foad, Ms Jackie Jones, Mr John Davis and Mr Patrick Powers

Mr Christopher Daniel was appointed President of the Society

During the AGM Gerald Stancey asked for clarification about the need for an independent examiner to be appointed to oversee the accounts.  The Treasurer explained that the 2005 Charity Act (which came into force in 2008) specified this for charities having a turnover of our level.

In the open discussion following the AGM, Kevin Karney suggested that Trustees might be appointed for a limited maximum period, possibly three or four years. This could encourage other members to become involved in the operation of the Society, who might otherwise be put off by feeling that they would be expected to serve for an extended period. The view was opposed by others who made the point that there had never been sufficient volunteers for Council service for that to work. They felt that the present requirement for annual re-election of every Trustee adequately provided for new Trustees to come forward.

A further suggestion was made that we consider enrolling assistants to the functional Council posts, to facilitate hand-over as and when required. No strong feelings were expressed either way and it was left as an option that should always be kept in mind and implemented whenever appropriate and possible.

Patrick Powers then asked if the meeting had any comments on the more democratic and cost saving measure of displaying our accounts on the website rather than to have a (now 12 page!) booklet specifically printed and included in the conference wallets just for the AGM attendees. Of course those without an internet connexion could receive a textual copy on request. No contrary views were expressed.

The extended discussion period that had been arranged for after lunch attracted no interest at all from delegates and the Chairman declared it closed at 2:15pm.

A first meeting of the new Council was held later at which Mr Graham Aldred was co-opted as a Trustee of the Society.

Information Sheets At the Wyboston Conference, the Council reported back to the membership on two matters by issuing Information Sheets in the conference wallet.  The first, Know Your Society, fulfils a Charity Commission requirement to inform our membership and describes the governance of the Society, how its Council is elected, the AGM and the way in which members may discuss matters of interest with the Council.  As a charity the Trustees are not bound by any vote at an AGM other than on matters specifically required by its governing document which in our case is our Constitution.  Nonetheless and as a part of our democratic process, any important issue - especially one that might have been raised more than once - is taken seriously and looked at in depth by the Council.  One such, a suggestion made in March 2010, was an idea for a change to the Society's web site domain name.  The Council's detailed consideration of this, the many adverse consequences of its adoption and the Council's final decision to refuse it, is the subject of the second Information Sheet: We've changed our clothes!. This starts with an update on recent improvements to the web site.  Both of these Information Sheets were handed to delegates at the recent conference.  Members who were not able to attend the Wyboston Conference may view them here as PDFs.



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