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News from Redbridge clubs, societies and non-profit organisations.

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Ilford Historical Society

The society celebrated the anniversary of one of the world’s most famous novels last week.

To mark 200 years since Pride and Prejudice was published, Jane Austen expert Maureen Stiller travelled from Sussex to shed some light on the author’s life.

Special guests at the evening in the Ilford Hospital Chapel, Ilford Hill, included the Mayor of Redbridge, Cllr Muhammed Javed, and mayoress Shamin Ali.

Ms Stiller, from the Jane Austen Society, told the group how the writer started life as a parson’s daughter in 1775.

She lived in Bath before moving to a Hampshire village, where she wrote some of her best-known work.

Her novels were incredibly popular but Austen was not named until after her death as Regency period conventions allowed her to be known only as “a lady”.

Even her gravestone in Winchester Cathedral makes no mention of her writing career.

She drew inspiration for her books from her brothers in the Royal Navy and her close relationship with two sisters.

Austen never married but once accepted a proposal that would have brought her family social and financial security, before ending the engagement.

She fell ill and died aged only 41.

Ilford Historical Society chairman Jef Page said: “Considering it was so freezing, we were gratefully surprised by the size of the audience – clearly Austen is a big draw.

“The talk was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone.”

The Ilford Historical Society made a donation to the Jane Austen Society for its work.

The society holds meetings, talks and events on the history of Redbridge and beyond.

Visit ilfordhistoricalsociety.weebly.com for information.

Wanstead and Woodford Camera Club

Photography enthusiasts went head-to-head in an inter-club competition last week.

The Wanstead and Woodford Camera Club judged members on photos taken on last month’s outing to Queen Elizabeth’s Hunting Lodge in Epping Forest and general photos printed in colour or black and white.

The club also competes with snappers from other areas.

They will be training their lenses on some familiar sites on Saturday on a trip to the City of London.

Sights include war memorials, Leadenhall Market, historical ruins and new architecture including the Gherkin.

Member Ray Benn said competitions help budding photographers practise and get feedback on their work.

The Wanstead and Woodford Camera Club is believed to be one of the UK’s oldest photographic societies and was founded in 1893.

People of all ages and experience levels are welcome to the group’s talks, competitions, exhibitions and outings.

For information, visit www.woodfordandwanstead-photosoc.co.uk.

Friends of Valentines Mansion

A spot of glamour is coming to Valentines Mansion on Feruary 15.

A cabaret evening, featuring Woodford entertainers The Wheezards, is being put on by The Friends. The group raises money to help preserve and improve the mansion and park in Emerson Road, Ilford.

For information, visit www.valentines.org.uk.

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