This year’s Daily Mail Chalke Valley History Festival is like no other. A slightly shortened version due to the pandemic, the organisers have none the less packed it with a more complete and wide-ranging programme than ever before. The full line- up is now online and can be found at www.cvhf.org.uk.
The festival promises to offer a full assault on the senses. Those attending will be able to watch our greatest living playwright and learn how to build a Roman road. There will be a former Archbishop of Canterbury and political party leader alongside some of the best-known and loved TV historians. There will be demonstrations from the Tudor kitchen, stone age flint-knapping and a Cold War-era armoured brigade headquarters. It will be possible to learn about the dark art of 19th century body- snatching, how to make wattle and daub, and learn how to make a Tudor salve and herbal cure. The head of the UK’s Armed Forces, the best-known shepherd in the land, and the most eminent international human rights lawyer in the UK will all be speaking. There will be Sword School, a vintage fairground, some of the country’s
most brilliant, successful and eminent historians but also late-night storytelling around the fire with Dan Snow and Michael Wood, and fast and furious fun with the History Tellers.
And as with any English country festival, there will be food, glorious food – and historical fast food too – as well as drink, camping, glamping and live music every single day of the festival from 1920s flapper music to the ancient ballads of English folk music.
Those coming to the festival will be able to see history, touch history, taste history and smell history too – and all in the stunning ancient downland of the Chalke Valley – a place of immense history in its own right.
Festival Chair, James Holland, says: “I’m really very excited about this year’s festival. Despite the challenges of the last year we’ve been able to produce a really inclusive and very wide-ranging programme that feels fresh, vibrant and fun. It will be midsummer, lockdown will be over, and I can’t wait to unleash this historical pageant.”
The stellar list of historians and speakers at this year’s festival include: Tracy Borman, Sir Vince Cable, General Sir Nick Carter, Diana Cavendish, Niall Ferguson, Anne Glenconner, Sir Max Hastings, Charlie Higson, Tom Holland, Katja Hoyer, Cat Jarman, Hermione Lee, Professor Margaret Macmillan, Rana Mitter, Al Murray, Jim
Naughtie, Neil Oliver, James Rebanks, Dominic Sandbrook, Dan Snow, Sir Tom Stoppard, Rowan Williams, Marina Wheeler and Michael Wood.
Due to government guidelines, there may be restrictions on the number of tickets for sale at the festival this year. The festival strongly advises those wishing to attend to book tickets early to avoid disappointment. All of the Outdoor Programme will be available on a single daily ticket (with add-ons for Sword School and fairground rides), and at a price that has been kept deliberately low and which promises astonishing value for money awhile tented events will require an individual ticket, as was the case in the past. Tented ticket prices will, however, also include access to
the Outdoor Programme.
This year, there will be no Chalke Valley History Festival for Schools, although the festival is producing a programme of curriculum-based films, ready for the start of the academic year this September, and which will be entirely free for all teachers, pupils and schools. A special and separate online portal will be created for this.
All profits from the festival are ploughed back into the Chalke Valley History Trust, which operates to promote the enjoyment and better understanding of history for all ages but especially to school children.
Tickets go on sale to the general public on Wednesday 19th May and will be released two days earlier on Monday 17 th May to the Friends membership.
Talks given by incredible historians, taken from the past ten years of the festival, can now be heard on the Chalke Valley History Festival podcast. Entitled #ChalkeTalk, the podcasts are released three times a week.
On 28 May 2021 Royal Museums Greenwich, in collaboration with the National Portrait Gallery, London, will open Tudors to Windsors: British Royal Portraits at the National Maritime Museum, a major art exhibition exploring the changing nature of the British monarchy and royal portraiture over 500 years.
Tudors to Windsors will feature over 150 works, including famous paintings, miniatures, sculpture, photographs, medals and stamps spanning five royal dynasties: Tudors, Stuarts, Georgians, Victorians and Windsors. Visitors will come face-to-face with the kings, queens, heirs, consorts and favourites who have shaped British royal history and portraits by some of the most important artists to have worked in Britain, often under the direct patronage of the Royal Family, from Sir Peter Lely and Sir Godfrey Kneller to Andy Warhol, Cecil Beaton and Annie Leibovitz.
The majority of the artworks are drawn from the outstanding collection of the National Portrait Gallery. The loans will be on display alongside works from private lenders and pieces from the National Maritime Museum’s own renowned collection.
Beginning with the famous and infamous kings and queens of the Tudor dynasty, a period that coincides with the foundations of portrait painting in England, the exhibition will explore the development of the royal portrait as statements of wealth, power, continuity and tradition and how this was impacted by both the personalities of individual monarchs and wider historical change.
Highlights on display include the earliest known portrait of Henry VII – the oldest artwork in the exhibition – painted in 1505 by an unknown artist, as well as the famous ‘Ditchley Portrait’ of Elizabeth I by Flemish artist Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger. Regal portraits of Charles II and his mistresses will feature alongside early 19th century domestic photographs of Queen Victoria and her family. A selection of paintings and photographs of Queen Elizabeth II by Cecil Beaton and
Annie Leibovitz will be displayed, alongside portraits of other members of the current Royal Family.
The exhibition takes place in the historic setting of Greenwich, one of London’s key royal sites as the location of the principal Tudor palace, the birthplace of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, the home of the Royal Armouries and the location of the Queen’s House, commissioned by James I’s consort Anne of Denmark, and the Royal Observatory founded by Charles II.
Tudors to Windsors: British Royal Portraits is on at the National Maritime Museum from 28 May 2021.
Nero: the man behind the myth will explore the true story of Rome's fifth emperor informed by new research and archaeological evidence from the time, challenging the biased historical accounts written after Nero’s death that have shaped his legacy.
Recent discoveries relating to Nero’s fourteen-year rule reveal a more accurate picture. Treasures hidden during the destruction of Colchester in AD 60-61 during Boudica's Iceni rebellion, burned artifacts from the Fire of Rome in AD 64, and evidence from the destruction of Pompeii uncover a new understanding of Nero’s turbulent and misconceived reign.
Tickets are available to book today for Nero: the man behind the myth opening 27 May, as well as tickets to the special exhibition Thomas Becket: murder and the making of a saint, opening 20 May. The Museum plans to reopen on 17 May and free tickets to visit the permanent collection are also available to book now.
This major exhibition will feature over 200 objects, charting the young emperor’s rise to power and examining his actions during a period of profound social change in regions from Armenia in the Near East, to Britain, and across mainland Europe. Drawn from the British Museum's world-class collection alongside rare loans from Europe, most never seen in the UK before, the exhibition includes humble graffiti next to grand sculpture, precious manuscripts, objects destroyed in the fire of Rome, priceless jewellery and slave chains from Wales, telling the story of rich and poor alike.
Nero (r. AD 54–68), the last male descendant of Rome’s first emperor Augustus, succeeded to the throne aged only sixteen. Britain had been under Roman rule for just eleven years. During his reign of nearly fourteen years, he had his own mother killed, his first wife, and allegedly his second wife. Written accounts even claim that Nero himself started the Great Fire of Rome in AD 64. In June AD 68, when confronted with rebellions by insubordinate military officials, Nero was forced to commit suicide. The Roman senate immediately excised his memory from official records, and his name was vilified to legitimise the new ruling elite.
The image of Nero as a tyrant created 50 years after his death by the historians Tacitus and Suetonius, and written about more than another century later by Cassius Dio, is a story that has been repeated for centuries. We now know that this Nero is a fabrication and that ancient sources stand between us and the historical character. This exhibition challenges traditional preconceptions and explores what the ancient elite narrative on Nero tells us about the inner conflicts of Roman society.
Statues of Nero were erected throughout the empire, yet very few survive due to the official suppression of his image. A star piece in the exhibition is a bronze head of Nero, long-mistaken as Claudius, which was found in the River Alde in Suffolk in 1907. The head was part of a statue that probably stood in Camulodunum (Colchester) before being torn down during the Boudica-led rebellion. A small bronze figure of Nero, lent by Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Venezia and seen in the UK for the first time, gives a rare sense of a complete sculpture.
The Fenwick Hoard will be shown as part of a major exhibition for the first time since it was discovered in 2014 beneath the floor of a shop on Colchester’s High Street. The treasure was buried for safekeeping by settlers fleeing for their lives during Boudica’s attack. Among the items are Roman republican and imperial coins, military armlets and fashionable jewellery very similar to finds from Pompeii and Herculaneum.
Famously, Nero was the first Roman emperor to act on stage and compete in public games as a charioteer. Aged 21, Nero first took to the stage as part of private games, but a few years later he performed publicly in Naples and then in Rome itself. This event was described in hostile sources as unprecedented and scandalous, but contemporary evidence shows that Nero was hardly the first young man of good family to take part in public performances. Chariot racing, gladiatorial combats and theatre were incredibly popular in the Roman world, as shown by fascinating objects such as gladiatorial weapons from Pompeii on loan from the Louvre, stunning frescoes depicting actors and theatrical masks lend by Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli.
One of the defining moments of Nero’s reign was the Great Fire of Rome in AD 64, which burned for nine days and laid waste to large parts of the city. Excavations in recent years have revealed the true extent of the ferocity and impact of the fire. A warped iron window grating, discovered near the Circus Maximus, will be displayed in the UK for the first time, as testament to the intensity of the flames and destruction.
Nero, who was in the nearby city of Antium rather than in his palace watching the inferno, led the relief and reconstruction efforts. A new palace, the Domus Aurea, rose from the ashes. Stunning frescoes and wall decorations will give visitors a taste of Nero’s opulent residence. The elaborate designs and the use of precious materials such as exotic marbles, cinnabar and gold speak to the height of imperial luxury.
Visitors will ask themselves, who was Nero? A young ruler reconciling contrasting demands in a time of great change, or a merciless, matricidal maniac? Nero was widely admired among ordinary Romans due to his popular policies, extravagant games, and grand building projects, in stark contrast to the powerful voices of the senatorial authors who ultimately determined Nero’s legacy. It is they who fabricated the enduring image of the mad tyrant that still fascinates us today.
Thorsten Opper, Curator, Ancient Rome, British Museum, said ‘The Nero of our common imagination is an entirely artificial figure, carefully crafted 2000 years ago. It is fascinating to unravel how and why this was done. The exhibition - from court art to street graffiti - reveals a society that was prosperous and dynamic, yet full of inner tensions, which erupted in a violent civil war after Nero’s death. The objects tell these stories, starkly and immediately.’
Hartwig Fischer, Director of the British Museum, said ‘Nero: the man behind the myth is the first major exhibition in the UK to look beyond the commonly held view of Nero as the Emperor who fiddled while Rome burned. The exhibition’s representation of Nero is one that resonates with our times, in a world with deepening social and economic challenges, contested facts and the polarisation of opinion.
I would like to express my gratitude to our long-term exhibition partner BP. Without their support, the British Museum would not be able to present such exhibitions, allowing visitors to explore the complex character of Nero – real and imagined.’
Nero: the man behind the myth runs from 27 May to 24 October 2021 in the Sainsbury Exhibitions Gallery at the British Museum.
Open Saturday – Thursday 10.00–17.00, Friday 10.00–20.30. Last entry 90 mins before closing.
Adult tickets £20 weekdays and £22 weekends, under 16s free, 2-for-1 tickets for students on Fridays, and concessions and group rates available.
+44 (0)20 7323 8181
In March 1943 the code breakers at Bletchley Park, Britain's top secret intelligence station, are facing their worst nightmare. Nazi U boats have unexpectedly changed the code by which they communicate with each other and German High Command. An Allied merchant shipping convoy crossing the Atlantic with 10,000 passengers and vital supplies is in danger of attack.
The authorities turn for help to Tom Jericho, a brilliant young mathematician and code breaker. Unknown to his colleagues, Jericho (Dougray Scott) has another equally baffling enigma of his own to unravel. Claire, the woman with whom he has fallen in love, has disappeared from Bletchley just when the authorities suspect there may be a spy at the Park. To get to the bottom of both mysteries he enlists the help of Hester, Claire's best friend (Kate Winslet). Together they keep one step ahead of the secret services and investigate Claire's mysterious life, reaching a conclusion that uncovers international and personal betrayals. Also starring Jeremy Northam and Saffron Burrows.
Dazzler Media proudly presents Enslaved, an extraordinarily moving series with Hollywood legend and human rights activist Samuel L. Jackson taking us on a powerful and personal journey. It's available to own on DVD & Digital from 19th April.
In this extraordinarily moving series, Hollywood legend and human rights activist Samuel L. Jackson takes us on a powerful and personal journey.
Exploring four centuries of slavery, Jackson travels the globe to reveal stories of suffering and greed, resistance, cultures left behind, accomplishment and hope. With investigative journalists Afua Hirsch and Simcha Jacobovici, Jackson unpacks the history of the transatlantic slave trade. He also teams up with an elite group of divers from Diving With a Purpose (DWP) to find and dive for six sunken slave ships. The series provides penetrating new insights and points of view - discovering the legacy of the slave trade in contemporary global culture.
Dazzler Media presents Enslaved on DVD & Digital from 19th April
Pre-order on Amazon: www.amazon.co.uk/Enslaved-Samuel-L-Jackson-DVD/dp/B08WJNTR5R
The Daily Mail Chalke Valley History Festival set to return in 2021from Wednesday 23rd to Sunday 27 th June
The largest celebration of history in the UK, The Daily Mail Chalke Valley History Festival is set to return from the afternoon of Wednesday 23 rd to the evening of Sunday 27 th June. Taking place at its spectacular venue in Broad Chalke, near Salisbury in Wiltshire, it will be one of the first big ‘live’ events of the summer, starting just two days after the proposed lifting of Covid restrictions on 21 st June.
After much consultation with the relevant authorities and key stakeholders, the five- day event - made possible after receiving a generous grant from the Arts Council Culture Recovery Fund - will take place in accordance with Government guidelines, with strict health and safety regulations in place where necessary.
As an outdoor festival, many of the planned activities will be centred around two big marquees and two new stages that will host talks as well as the large tents. The festival will offer its usual amazing line-up of talks, topical debates, living history and activities for children, with eminent historians and household names all bringing history to life.
James Holland, Festival Chair, said: “We are incredibly excited about the festival’s return. It will be the first big family event to take place in nearly 18 months, and I know the general public, currently starved of real-life festivals, are desperate to get back to some kind of normality. This will be a fabulous chance for families to go out, have fun, meet friends across the spacious layout of the site, to soak up some culture in a safe environment. It goes without saying that the safety of all those attending will be our upmost priority. The programme is going to be wide-ranging with lots to see and do, and we really can’t wait to welcome everyone back!”
There will not be a physical Festival for Schools this year. Instead, the festival will be creating a wealth of specifically generated content ready for the start of the academic year in September. This will include filming curriculum-based talks from leading academics and historians relevant for students in Years 10 and 12, and also delivering a mass of filmed material for Years 6, 7, and 8. In this way the festival will provide a long-term, free digital resource in line with the aims of the Chalke Valley History Trust.
John Glen, local MP for Salisbury, said: “The Chalke Valley History Festival is one of the jewels in the crown of the area’s cultural life. It is wonderful news that it can proceed this year. It will be a huge boost to the morale of both history buffs and the many local businesses, which supply and support the festival.”
The full programme, and more detailed information about what’s in store this year, will be unveiled very soon. Tickets will go on sale to the general public on Wednesday 19 th May.
Talks given by incredible historians, taken from the past ten years of the festival, can now be heard on the Chalke Valley History Festival podcast. Entitled #ChalkeTalk, the podcasts are released three times a week.
The Daily Mail Chalke Valley History Festival will take place at Church Bottom, Broad Chalke, Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP5 5DS.
For more details about the Festival, please visit www.cvhf.org.uk Follow all the news on Twitter at @CVHISTORYFEST and on Facebook and Instagram.
Trinity CineAsia proudly presents the action-packed and powerful historical war epic, The Eight Hundred, coming to UK Home Entertainment formats. A smash hit at the global box office, it became the highest grossing film of 2020.
It's arriving on DVD from 22nd March and Limited Edition Blu-ray (with alternative artwork and exclusive extras) and Digital platforms from 12th April.
“Filmmaking on the grandest scale” ★★★★ Empire
“The historical epic that beat Tenet at the box office” Metro
Shanghai, 1937; it’s been three months since Japan launched the invasion of China, and Japanese forces have been ordered to take control of a large central warehouse. Inside, a group of Chinese soldiers hold their ground, defending the city at any cost. 400 soldiers remain, yet they allow invaders to believe there are 800, confusing the enemy in an exhausting, bloody fight lasting four days and four nights.
With the conflict playing out in full view of Chinese civilians and both Americans and Europeans living across the river, the battle of the “Eight Hundred heroes” made world headlines; the first to be broadcast live around the world.
From acclaimed director Guan Hu, The Eight Hundred scored big at the global box office to become the highest-grossing film of 2020, standing tall as an action-packed war epic and a timeless tribute to bravery and sacrifice.
Trinity CineAsia presents The Eight Hundred on DVD from 22nd March and Blu-ray & Digital from 12th April
UK release of EMPEROR tells the story of Shields Green who escaped from slavery and joined the Raid on Harpers Ferry
From the producer of Django Unchained comes Emperor, an inspirational and timely portrait of courage and resilience set during a turbulent time in American history.
This epic story is inspired by the legend of 19th century freedom fighter, Shields "Emperor" Green (Dayo Okeniyi, The Hunger Games, Shades of Blue), a descendant of African kings turned outlaw slave in the pre-Civil War South.
A man fighting to free his family and bring an end to tyranny, Emperor fights his way north, joining forces with abolitionist John Brown for a daring raid on Harper's Ferry, helping to alter the course of American history in the process.
An action-packed and powerful epic shining a light on one of history’s unsung heroes, Emperor also stars Ben Robson (Animal Kingdom, Vikings), Academy Award® nominee James Cromwell (The Young Pope, The Green Mile), Kat Graham (All Eyez on Me, The Vampire Diaries) and Academy Award® and Golden Globe® nominee Bruce Dern (The Hateful Eight, Nebraska).
Inside History was fortunate enough to talk to Writer/Director, Mark Amin about the new movie and how movies often take a different view on bringing history to the big screen. We also chatted to Dayo Okeniyi about bringing Shields Green to life in the movie. Both of these interviews will be a part of our next issue which focuses on the theme of Protest, Revolt & Reform which will be released in May as part of our article on John Brown and the raid on Harpers Ferry.
Emperor is released on Amazon Prime Video on 1st March with a DVD release on 5th April
Stream the movie on Amazon by clicking here: Emperor Movie
Dazzler Media presents the epic, action-packed and suspenseful new war film Torpedo: U-235 on Blu-ray, DVD & Digital from 8th March.
“Great, memorable action scenes” ★★★★ The Action Elite
“A riveting war film about unsung heroes” World Film Geek
“Holy hell did I love it” Nightmarish Conjurings
In this epic cinematic adventure, resistance fighters accept a suicide mission to deliver uranium from the Belgian Congo in a stolen Nazi submarine to the United States. Hunted by Hitler’s army, the crew must outwit the German navy to bring the cargo safely to America.
Filled with exhilarating action, suspense and a great ensemble cast headlined by Koen De Bouw (The Last Tycoon), Thure Riefenstein (12 Monkeys) and Ella-June Henrard (Admiral), Torpedo: U-235 is one of the most exciting war films of the year, from new writer-director Sven Huybrechts.
Dazzler Media presents Torpedo: U-235 on Blu-ray, DVD & Digital from 8th March
Pre-order on Amazon: www.amazon.co.uk/Torpedo-U-235-Blu-Ray/dp/B08WJN2SL9
Pre-order on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/movie/torpedo-u-235/id1552715356
The Royal Mint has today (Thursday 4th February) announced they have acquired an incredibly rare, 500-year-old, gold Sovereign and the coin will be put up for auction early next month.
The Royal Mint’s historic coin experts have sourced a Type 2 Henry VII Sovereign, one of a select few in the world that are not held by a museum. The Henry VII Fine Gold Sovereign of Twenty Shillings is the earliest gold Sovereign a collector can own and there are only two examples in private ownership, making it a rare and historic addition to a collection. Struck more than 500 years ago, this exceptionally rare coin was created to assert the authority of the first Tudor king of England through its splendour and impressive weight and size. Bids will open at £950,000 for the sought-after coin.
Famous for making new coins, The Royal Mint successfully expanded into the sale of rare, historic coins two years ago. The company now helps customers track down rare examples to add to their collection, and authenticate coins on the secondary market using their unique experience in British coinage.
Rebecca Morgan, Divisional Director of Collector Services, comments: “We are delighted to have acquired such a rare coin which traces its history to the first Tudor king. The survival rate of these gold coins is miniscule, and this particular coin is the earliest example of a gold Sovereign that a collector can own. Our experts have checked and validated the coin, and there are just two left in private ownership – making this an incredibly exciting addition to a collection.
Rebecca continues: “The Royal Mint was originally based at The Tower of London, and this coin would have been hand struck on ‘Mint Street’ – which still stands today. What makes this coin even more fascinating is that we can trace its ownership back to the 1800’s. One notable owner of the coin was the world-renowned banker J. P. Morgan, who owned the coin until his death in 1913 with subsequent sale in 1915.
“We have seen many customers buying historic coins to bring purpose to their collection, either as an investment for the future or an heirloom to pass onto the next generation. Our Collector Services division is growing year on year, and with 1,100 years of expertise, the team here at The Royal Mint can help enrich and enhance any coin collection. We set the record for the sale of a British historic coin at £1 million last year - so who knows, perhaps this might beat the record.”
The gold Sovereign of Twenty Shillings was first introduced in the reign of the first Tudor King, Henry VII (1485-1509) 1489 over 500 years ago. The coin depicts the crowned Tudor King seated on a wooden throne, in robes, holding an orb and sceptre, the reverse shows the quartered shield of England upon a Tudor rose. Henry VII started the Tudor dynasty and was determined to cement his position. He was the father on the infamous Henry VIII, and grandfather to Elizabeth I.
The coin was acquired by The Royal Mint’s Collector Services division, that offers a range of services including authentication and valuation, accessories to care for and display treasured pieces, an unrivalled coin finder service, providing the safety and security of 1100 years of knowledge to go out into the secondary market and find the missing pieces from collections, help to fill the gaps or find that one rare piece a customer has always wanted.
· This coin was commissioned by Henry VII to be produced from 28th October 1489, over 500 years ago
· The Sovereign was the largest hammered gold coin of the Tudor period, approximately 40mm across in diameter, a millimetre thick, at a weight of approximately 15.3 grammes.
· The coin was issued in gold of approximately 23 1/3 carat fineness (0.995 fine)
· The coin has been assessed and graded by Numismatic Guaranty Corporation as “AU50” guaranteeing the state of preservation to be “almost uncirculated 50”
· The chain of ownership of this coin can be traced back to the Victorian era through six, named collectors.
How to Bid
The online auction will take place on 4 March 2021 and those wishing to bid will need to pay a £20,000 deposit*. This is the first in a series of online auctions that will be held by The Royal Mint and there is no buyer’s premium. If you would like to take part in the auction as a bidder or observer, take note of the following steps and register your interest by midnight on Monday, 1 March 2021.
To register, visit www.royalmint.com/auction/
*Please note that the £20,000 deposit is fully refundable to bidders who are unsuccessful in acquiring the coin at auction.