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Chalke Valley History Trust receives lifeline grant from Government’s £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund

Chalke Valley History Trust (CVHT) has been awarded £260,000 as part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund (CRF) to help face the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and to ensure the Chalke Valley History Festival and its Festival for Schools have a sustainable future, the Culture Secretary has announced today.

CVHT, owner of Chalke Valley History Festival, is one of 1,385 cultural and creative organisations across the country receiving urgently needed support. £257 million of investment has been announced today as part of the very first round of the Culture Recovery Fund grants programme being administered by Arts Council England. Further rounds of funding in the cultural and heritage sector are due to be announced over the coming weeks.

The Chalke Valley History Festival is a unique celebration of history that includes talks, performance, music, living history, and story-telling, covering a very broad range of subjects from the deep past to the near present, and through many different perspectives. It is the largest festival in the UK (perhaps the world) devoted entirely to history and attracts a local, regional, national and international audience. The festival is owned by a charitable trust set up to promote the understanding and inspiration of the past to the widest possible audience of all ages but especially children through the Chalke Valley History Festival for Schools which runs concurrently.

In the decade since the festival has been running, we have brought a major cultural event to south-west Wiltshire – there is no rural-based cultural festival of this scale anywhere else in the area.  It attracts some 25,000-30,000 people annually and also provides a large number of jobs and boosts the local economy; we use local businesses as far as we possibly can.

Over a week, visitors enjoy a blend of talks, discussions and debates, alongside a vast through-the-ages living history encampment featuring interactive events and, at the weekend, air displays of historic aircraft. The festival is noted for the range of performers it attracts from leading academics and nationally renowned figures to the best living historians. In addition to political, social, economic and military history, experts in the history of art, music, theatre and literature educate and entertain the audience.

Following the cancellation of the 2020 festival and the attendant costs already incurred, without the funding from the Arts Council Culture Recovery Fund we were planning a greatly reduced festival for 2021 which would not have included the Festival for Schools. This funding will enable us to mount the Festival, including the Festival for Schools, with social distancing measures in place (provided, of course, that holding a festival at all complies with Government guidelines) from 21-27 June 2021.

Festival Director, Jane Pleydell-Bouverie, said:

“We are absolutely delighted and so grateful to have received funding thanks to the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund. We passionately believe that it is only by learning about the past that we can make sense of the present and prepare for the future so this grant will enable us to continue to mount the Festival for Schools alongside the main Chalke Valley History Festival programme.”

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said:

“This funding is a vital boost for the theatres, music venues, museums and cultural organisations that form the soul of our nation. It will protect these special places, save jobs and help the culture sector’s recovery. 

“These places and projects are cultural beacons the length and breadth of the country. This unprecedented investment in the arts is proof this Government is here for culture, with further support to come in the days and weeks ahead so that the culture sector can bounce back strongly.”

Chair, Arts Council England, Sir Nicholas Serota, said:

“Theatres, museums, galleries, dance companies and music venues bring joy to people and life to our cities, towns and villages. This life-changing funding will save thousands of cultural spaces loved by local communities and international audiences. Further funding is still to be announced and we are working hard to support our sector during these challenging times.”


Dates announced for Chalke Valley History Festival 2020

First speakers revealed/Historic aircraft displays return/Live music every night/ stunning new Spiegeltent/10th Anniversary/ Saturday Night Victory Party

Image by Elizabeth Perry

“The Chalke Valley History Festival makes history relevant and makes it inclusive; it understands its audience and provides for them accordingly… Festivals don’t come better than this.” GetHistory.co.uk about the 2019 Festival

From Monday 22nd to Sunday 28th June, the world’s largest festival entirely devoted to history returns to Broad Chalke, near Salisbury, for its 10th year with an exciting new line-up of activities.  Spread over 60 acres of stunning Wiltshire countryside, the Daily Mail Chalke Valley History Festival is a celebration of the past like no other and is a unique array of interactive living history, activities for all the family, historic aircraft displays as well as talks and discussions with top-class speakers and household names.  The Festival aims to make history accessible to all and to encourage both young and old alike to leave feeling enthralled, excited and enthused about our past.

With over 200 talks and activities already planned, the wide-ranging programme promises to suit all tastes.  Speakers already confirmed include: Holocaust survivor Inge Auerbacher; journalist and television presenter Alan Titchmarsh; former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams; globally best-selling novelist Tracy Chevalier; TV historians Dan Snow and David Starkey; international lawyer and best-selling writer Philippe Sands; comedian Al Murray; former lady-in-waiting to Princess Margaret Anne Glenconner; celebrated gardener, renowned conductor Jane Glover; BBC Newsnight’s Diplomatic Editor and historian Mark Urban; international best-selling author Jung Chang; comedian and impressionist Rory Bremner; writer, commentator and broadcaster Agnès Poirier; and the greatest living playwright, Tom Stoppard.

2020 of course marks the 75th Anniversary of VE Day as well as the 80th of Dunkirk and the Battle of Britain, and we will be holding special 1940 and 1945 days, including talks, discussions and demonstrations. It’s also an important year for the Festival itself as it celebrates its 10th anniversary.  To get everybody into the party spirit this year, there will be some exciting new changes to the Festival line-up, including a vaudeville theme, live music in the bar every night, and a beautiful new Spiegeltent.  On the Saturday night, fireworks will light up the skies over the Chalke Valley as visitors take to the dance floor and enjoy a full programme of entertainment at the Victory Party, dressed up in their glad rags and Forties finery.

The festival will look very different this year, with living history encampments right in the centre of the Festival site.  Amongst the new additions for 2020 will be four historic dwellings: Iron Age, Medieval, Tudor and a late 17th Century coaching inn.  Each one will be lived in throughout the week and will include a stockaded area for animals and all the features of daily life in those periods.

Also, if you want a preview of what else is new for this year, the list includes an SOE Training Camp, a historic brewery, an all-female crewed Russian T-34 tank, a major WWII field workshop, Soldier School, and a completely new trench experience.  Plus, you can even get your lunch Tudor-style at one of the historic fast food stalls.

For many, one of the highlights of the Festival is the series of spectacular historic aircraft displays that take place at intervals over the weekend.  So, air enthusiasts will be delighted to hear that the aircraft will be back this summer, dazzling visitors as they twist and turn over the Chalke Valley site.

The rich and varied Live History Live programme returns, showing the vital role of both women and men in our developing story.  From domestic day-to-day living to warfare and survival, there will be much to learn from the Roman and Celtic era through to the end of the Second World War.  All the living historians taking part in the activities are experts in their fields and each event will show them making or doing something from the past – and often busting many deeply entrenched myths in conversation with some of our best-loved TV historians and authors.

Last year the Festival for Schools welcomed nearly 2,500 pupils from 112 schools.  Bringing together the greatest historians, academics, living historians and TV personalities to inform on curriculum-based subjects, the Festival makes a major contribution to history education and brings history alive in new and exciting ways.  This year’s schools programme will run on Monday 22nd June (for Years 6,7,8 & 9), on Tuesday 23rd June (for Years 6,7,8 & 9) and on Wednesday 24th June (for Years 10 & 12).

The full programme for the main Festival, and further details about the Festival for Schools, will be announced in the coming weeks. Tickets will go on sale on 28th April.  

For further information, please contact Alex Hippisley-Cox on mobile 07921 127077 or email her at [email protected]   

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.

When possible we like to do our bit and support some special charities or organisations.

CVHF was delighted to support the following charities at the 2019 festival:

  • ABF: The Soldiers’ Charity
  • Combat Stress
  • English Speaking Union
  • Salisbury Hospice Charity
  • Tickets for Troops
  • Walking With the Wounded

REVIEW: Festivals Don’t Come Better Than This – Chalke Valley History Festival 2019

We had a lovely review from the team at Get History who made it out to the 2019 History Festival.


🎬 2019 Day Two Round Up

Chalke Valley History Trust supports the Cranborne Chase Landscape Partnership Scheme with grant funding and which has just been awarded Heritage Lottery funding

Hawker Typhoon update: QinetiQ apprentices hard at work

Apprentices have bee hard at work building the inner sections of the wings on the Hawker Typhoon model.

Tiffy update: build underway and schools are painting

Excitement is building for this incredible S.T.E.M. project and the teams have been working hard on it. The design team have done a fantastic job of digging out the archives of the original plans to give us the most accurate model ever. Parts are now being built and assembled from these drawings, including two large wing sections, and parts of the hull are almost complete. Some of the local schools are helping to paint large sections of the plane in their DT lessons and last week we sent local photographer Russell Emm down to Broad Chalke Primary School to see how they were getting on, where he found the pupils hard at work on one of the wings and in charge of a whole lot of paint!

We would like to thank all the children involved for their hard work, and we look forward to seeing the finished article when it arrives at the Festival at the beginning of June.

For more details on the project please go to: https://cvhf.org.uk/programme-details/special-project-giant-hawker-typhoon/

Images by Russell Emm






Festival announces plans to construct the largest model World War II fighter plane ever built

Forget ‘The Angel of the North’.  ‘The Tiffy of the South’ will be dominating the hills surrounding the Chalke Valley this summer.

[Salisbury, UK 2ndApril 2019] To mark the 75thanniversary of D-Day and the liberation of France this June, The Daily Mail Chalke Valley History Festival is creating a giant scale replica of the Hawker Typhoon aircraft, or the ‘Tiffy’ as it was known.

Artist’s impression

Perched on the crest of the hill in Broad Chalke, near Salisbury in Wiltshire, overlooking the main festival site, the plane will be FOUR times the size of the original and will dominate the local landscape. With a wingspan of 19 metres, a length of 14 metres, and height 7 metres, this massive installation will be a similar size to a 60-seater passenger jet and will be instantly recognizable for miles around.

Built in partnership with QinetiQ – a leading science and engineering company operating primarily in the defence, security and aerospace markets – at the MOD Boscombe Down, this will be the largest model Word War II fighter plane ever built.  Its construction will be overseen by QinetiQ engineers, with much of the work being carried out as a special project by the company’s apprentices  who will be working alongside universities, colleges and schools.  Local children, years 6 and above, will be helping to paint sections of the plane, and even branches of the Scout Association in the area will be closely involved.

A single-engine fighter plane, capable of speeds of over 400mph and armed with both 20mm cannon and eight rockets, the Hawker Typhoon came to symbolise the dominance of the Allies in the air during D-Day and the Normandy campaign that followed. It also played a vital role in the Allied victory and the liberation of France.
The Festival will be using the construction of this giant ‘Tiffy’ to inspire the next generation about history and engineering, whilst paying homage to the 16,000 Allied airmen who lost their lives during the Normandy battle and were among the unsung heroes of the liberation.

Education is at the heart of the Chalke Valley History Festival, and the Hawker Typhoon replica will be a core component this summer, educating both pupils and the public on the importance of this aircraft.  Whilst everyone knows about the Spitfire, the ‘Tiffy’ is very much the forgotten hero of the Normandy Campaign, and the Festival aims to redress this imbalance with a series of daily talks to pupils and the public about the aircraft, its crew and the important part it played in World War II.  There will be a special path created up to the plane, where these talks will take place, be recorded and then published on a dedicated website, as well as on the Festival’s educational History Hub.

Whilst there are some fifty Spitfires flying still flying today, there is not a single Hawker Typhoon.  The Hawker Typhoon Preservation Group plans to change this by restoring RB396, which flew with 174 Squadron, to airworthy condition from their base in Sussex and aims to get their ‘Tiffy’ flying again in the next few years.  The Festival’s model plane will be painted in the same 174 Squadron markings and will help to promote The Hawker Typhoon Preservation Group’s very exciting vision to see a ‘Tiffy’ flying over Britain once more.

The replica will be brought to the Festival site from Boscombe Down in time for the 75thanniversary of D-Day on 6thJune. It will be seen by over 30,000 visitors to the Chalke Valley History Festival and by thousands of school children who attend the Festival for Schools.

For more information as the project develops and to book tickets after 30th April, go to: https://cvhf.org.uk/programme-details/special-project-giant-hawker-typhoon/


— ENDS —

The Festival will take place 24th– 30thJune 2019 at Church Bottom, Broad Chalke, Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP5 5DP.

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.

For press and media enquiries: Alex Hippisley-Cox on +44 (0)7921 127077 or email her at [email protected]