The Daily Mail Chalke Valley History Festival Monday 24th to Sunday 30th June 2019 The biggest and most inspiring celebration of history in the UK
From Monday 24th to Sunday 30th June, usually quiet fields in Broad Chalke, near Salisbury in Wiltshire, will come alive and be transformed into the world’s largest festival entirely devoted to history. Spread over 60 acres, The Daily Mail Chalke Valley History Festival is a unique combination of talks, discussions and topical debates, alongside a vast living history encampment, where the very best living historians - all experts in their field - bring history to life with their extensive knowledge and passion for the past.
This year there will be more to see and do and a wider range of talks, discussions and other events than ever before. With over 150 talks and debates programmed, delivered by eminent historians, writers, commentators and well-known personalities, the Festival promises to educate, inspire and entertain all those who attend. The line-up of distinguished speakers has been revealed and tickets are now on sale. Those taking part in the Festival for the first time include the best-selling crime novelist Minette Walters who will be discussing the Black Death, the former broadcast war reporter Martin Bell, Britain’s first female black professor of history Olivette Otele, and Ralph Northumberland who will be providing a fascinating account of the Percy family and Alnwick Castle. Plus, the comedian and actor Harry Enfield will be a panellist on the ever-popular comedy panel show, Histrionics, on the Friday night.
Festival favourites and well-known names returning this year include: Neil Oliver, Victoria Hislop, Dan Snow, Kate Williams, Antonia Fraser, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Tracy Borman, Ben Macintyre, David Owen, Ian Hislop, Anita Anand and Niall Ferguson. Delivering the second CVHF Directors’ Lecture, Rania Abouzeid, the internationally acclaimed journalist and Middle East expert, will talk about the catastrophic civil war in Syria. And, international award-winning author and TED Global speaker Elif Shafak, will ask how we remain sane in the age of populism.
Appearances by Ken Tout, a veteran of one of the most famous tank engagements of WWII, and John Jammes, former member of the French resistance and winner of the Croix de Guerre, also promise to be particularly special events.
Festival Director, Jane Pleydell-Bouverie, said: “We are thrilled by the number of displays and activities for all the family on offer at the Festival this summer, the diversity of topics which will be covered, and the range of speakers appearing - from the most distinguished academics and personalities to new, younger historians.”
The 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings will be marked at Chalke Valley this year and, to open the Festival, there will be a special D-Day 75 morning to commemorate all those who fought in the Normandy campaign. For the first time, the Festival will also be recreating a World War II trench. The scene will be set in late June in 1944 and members of the public will be thrown into a fly-on-the-wall scenario that will demonstrate the equipment, conditions and dangers facing British troops on the Normandy frontline. On the Sunday, there will be at least one talk linked to D-Day at every session.
In addition, the Festival is creating a giant scale replica of the Hawker Typhoon aircraft, or the ‘Tiffy’ as it was known. This iconic wartime fighter plane will be dominating the hills surrounding the Chalke Valley this summer. Perched on the crest of the hill, overlooking the main festival site, the plane will be FOUR times the size of the original and will dominate the local landscape. This massive installation will be a similar size to a 60-seater passenger jet and will be instantly recognizable for miles around. Built as a S.T.E.M. project in partnership with QinetiQ at the MOD Boscombe Down, and working alongside universities, colleges and schools across the region, this will be the largest and most accurate model Word War II fighter plane ever built.
Against the backdrop of widespread political uncertainty and cultural change, it has never been more relevant to understand the rich and varied history of the British Isles. With this in mind, a major new five-year project, threading together the different strands of Britain’s history, will also be launched at this year’s Festival. Entitled ‘Britain: The Thread of History 1603-2016’, the Festival aims to link together many of the different strands of Britain’s story in a series of thirtyfive talks, downloadable podcasts and chapters, which will combine into a single-volume book, published by Bantam Press in 2023. One copy of the book will be donated to EVERY secondary school in the country.
During the week, The Schools’ Festival enables pupils and teachers to get out beyond the classroom and experience history in a new way. The Festival provides a full programme of curriculum-based subjects, delivered with expertise and a fresh, interactive and immersive approach. Now in its 7th year, with increased numbers of children and schools attending each year, the Festival welcomed nearly 2,500 pupils in 2018. The Schools’ Festival for 2019 will run on Tuesday 25th June and Thursday 27th June for 11-14 year olds, and on Wednesday 26th June for 15- 17 year olds. Each day includes a range of immersive living history but also an incredible line-up of leading historians and academics covering and expanding on many of the principle GCSE and Alevel history topics. Speakers include Max Hastings, Kate Williams, Tom Holland, Tim Bouverie, Tracy Borman and Martin Brown.
The festival weekend will see an exciting new programme of living history events, showcasing the age of the Anglo Saxons and Vikings, right the way through to the Second World War. Brand-new themes for 2019 include Exploration, the Historic Home, as well as Wartime Farming and D-Day. Following the success of last year’s Live History Live series of events, there will be a new programme on the Saturday and Sunday. Free to those already attending the Festival, each event will offer the chance to see, touch and feel history: using techniques and materials from the past, expert living historians, including Alex Langlands, Dan Snow, Sam Willis and Dan Jones, will demonstrate a wide range of activities from historic cookery to other features of day-to-day living.
The Festival also boasts a range of interactive tents and activities such as Royal Signals Morse code lessons, as well as archaeology walks, vintage vehicles, shopping emporium, a bar, fine dining and street food. The ‘D-Day Dance’ on the Saturday evening, including music from the brilliant Branflakes and wartime favourite songs from the D-Day Darlings, Britain’s Got Talent finalists and fresh from releasing their first studio album, will be free for anyone already at the Festival. Visitors on the Saturday are encouraged to dress up, and there will be plenty of activities for all the family, including a children’s activity tent, sword school, and special talks for younger attendees. Book signings will be arranged by Festival partner Waterstones.
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.