The Power of 24

This month, we set ourselves the challenge of discussing anything that happened in any year which ended in …24.  What a mixture of interesting topics emerged, many of which could have been the topic of a discussion meeting in themselves.

Our two meetings (morning and afternoon) started in 124CE and ended in 1924 – a very popular year amongst our members.

We ranged from Hadrian’s Romans in Britain in 124CE to the renaming of the city now known as Oslo in 1924 and the birth of Robert Mugabe, also in 1924.    In between, we heard about the first king of a united England in 924, the return to power of James 1 of Scotland in 1424 after 18 years imprisonment in France, the huge amounts of legislation enacted in the Houses of Parliament in 1624,  the (failed) abduction of Chaucer’s father in 1324 and two entertaining tales of crime in the 17th century centred around 1724.  Did you know that Macheath in The Beggars Opera was based on Jack Shepherd, a thief finally hanged after several Houdini-like escapes from London prisons?

We also heard about the Vagrancy Act of 1824 which makes it an offence to beg or sleep rough:  a piece of legislation still in place today, and about the origin of the Chiltern Hundreds legislation in 1624.

On a more domestic note, we learned about the early lives of a member’s parents born in 1924, with family photos to reflect on and admire.   We also heard about ordinary women who weren’t exactly flappers moving towards shorter skirts and bobbed hair.

Also in that year the first radio play was broadcast as well the very first shipping forecast.

All in all, two very successful meetings where we all learned a lot and laughed a lot.