From old navy ships and names to photos of Dartmoor and rags and riches stories - the Probus Club have been zooming away

Sixty years old man makes zoom call

All about 'zooming in' - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The Torquay Probus Club have been busy ‘zooming’ away with an array of virtual speakers.  

Members who have the facility to take part in zoom meetings have already enjoyed three presentations in 2021.They also enjoy a weekly quiz from secretary/treasurer Philip Kay.  

Club President Eric Walkom presented images featuring 60 naval vessels which had been constructed during the reigns of Queen Victoria and King Edward VII.   

Member Ken Wright explained in graphic detail his career as a Trade Effluent Inspector based in East London and Essex. Ken defined his subject briefly as any wastewater which is not domestic sewage.   

Club member David Hinchliffe then demonstrated his research skills for his presentation titled ‘Searching for the Mooreove’. His personal visual images of southern Dartmoor were compared to illustrations from the various William Crossing guide publications from the last century which included images of the first moorland ‘letter box’ at Cranmere Pool in the 19th century.  

Member Roger Hamilton delivered a brilliantly researched talk ‘What’s in a Name’.  He explained that today everyone’s First and Surnames feature and are recorded on the Registration of their Birth. He compared this procedure to that of many years ago in the days of ancient Greek and Roman history.   

Roger included as part of his presentation a detailed analysis of the Club members’ surnames which had featured in the 1881 Census. 

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Chairman Alastair Taylor delivered two talks. The first was titled ‘The Man Behind the MacRobert Fortune’ which was a sad rags to riches story about Alexander MacRobert who was born in Aberdeen 1854 in very humble circumstances.   

He left school at the age of 12 and worked sweeping the floors in a paper mill. He was reputed to have studied 17 diverse subjects at evening classes. Consequently, his employer recognised his potential and promoted him.   

He married Georgina Porter and in order to progress further obtained the post of manager of the Cawnpore woollen mill (now Kanpur in India). This was the first of many mills which later were amalgamated to form the British India Corporation.   

New members are welcome. For details call secretary Philip Kay on 01803 323551 or e-mail