🎧 William Golding

Recording from Chalke Valley History Festival 2018.
Writer and critic, Rick Gekoski takes a look at Sir William Golding, author of Lord of the Flies and other classics, as well as winner of both the Booker and the Nobel Prize for Literature. A former resident of Bowerchalke, he also taught at Bishop Wordsworth’s School and is rightly feted as one of our greatest novelists.

🎧 The Red Devils Over Normandy

A recording from Chalke Valley History Festival 2018, from a morning of exclusive talks and demonstrations looking at the story of the British Airborne Forces in #WW2.

Here is former Commander of 3 Para in Afghanistan, Stuart Total in conversation with Fred Glover who was in 9th Para on 6th June 1944, tasked with jumping ahead of the main seaborne allied landing, Operation Neptune, to secure the left flank of the invasion and facilitate the seaborne landing.

🎧 LANSDOWNE: THE LAST GREAT WHIG

Recorded at Chalke Valley History Festival 2018.
Despite a distinguished 50-year career as a statesman, ultimately Lord Lansdowne was branded a traitor for seeking peace with Germany in 1917. His great-great grandson Simon Kerry presents this great man in the context of his own time.

🎧 THE CORONATION: THE QUEEN’S MAIDS OF HONOUR

Recording from Chalke Valley History Festival 2018.
Roaring crowds, rehearsals and dress fittings, fainting fits, furtive sips of brandy and Scottish toffees from the Privy Purse, these are amongst the memories of the Maids of Honour chosen to accompany the Queen on her Coronation Day. Lady Anne Glenconner (then Coke, middle left) and Lady Rosemary Muir (then Spencer-Churchill, far right), two of the six women who filled this important role, gives a scintillating insight into their experience of this historic occasion. In conversation with Hugo Vickers, they also talk about growing up at Holkham Hall and Blenheim Palace.

🎧 TO CATCH A KING: CHARLES II’S GREAT ESCAPE

Audio from Chalke Valley History Festival 2018.
In 1651 the Royalist forces were crushed by the might of Cromwell’s armies at the Battle of Worcester. For the next six weeks the future Charles II was hunted by his father’s killers, who now wanted him dead too. Using Samuel Pepys’ original account, Charles Spencer brings to life the thrilling story of one of the greatest escapes in British history.


Charles Spencer obtained his degree in Modern History at Magdalen College, Oxford. He was a reporter on NBC’s Today Show from 1986 until 1995, and is the author of several books, including Sunday Times bestseller Blenheim: Battle for Europe (shortlisted for History Book of the Year at the 2005 National Book Awards), Prince Rupert: The Last Cavalier, Killers of the King and To Catch a King: Charles II’s Great Escape.

He will be speaking about Prince Rupert of the Rhine on Thursday 27th June – tickets are available here.

🎧 DUNKIRK

Recording from Chalke Valley History Festival 2017.
James Holland looks at one of the most iconic moments in Britain’s history. He examines the background to the German attack on the West in May 1940, challenging many of our deeply held perceptions, and explaining why the British evacuation of Dunkirk was, and remains, such a significant event.

🎧 THE GREEDY QUEEN: EATING WITH VICTORIA

From a recording at Chalke Valley History Festival 2017.
Come and sit down at the royal table and open the kitchen door to hear about what Victoria ate, and how she changed English food forever. Based on intriguing original research, historian Annie Gray shows the Queen’s absolute reliance on food as well as delving below stairs for a proper look at the cooks who played such an important role.

🎧 LIVING IN THE SHADOW OF HIMMLER

Recording from Chalke Valley History Festival 2017.
Katrin Himmler is a German author and political scientist. Her great-uncle was Heinrich Himmler, head of the SS, and one of the principle architects of the Holocaust. Katrin has confronted her family legacy with a book, Die Brüder Himmler, translated into English as ‘The Himmler Brothers. A German Family History’. She has also edited, together with the historian Michael Wildt, private letters from Himmler that had been only recently discovered in Israel. The Private Heinrich Himmler: Letters of a Mass Murderer was published in the UK last year. Here, in conversation with James Holland, she discusses Himmler, his brothers, and reveals the burden of this Nazi family legacy.

🎧 SPITFIRE: A VERY BRITISH LOVE STORY

Audio from Chalke Valley History Festival 2018.
Former RAF Tornado navigator John Nichol was shot down and held as a prisoner-of-war during the 1991 Gulf War to liberate Kuwait from Iraqi occupation. Having served on operations in Bosnia, the Falklands and the Gulf, he understands the reality of battle and the enduring allure of combat aircraft, especially the iconic Spitfire. In this talk, he discusses his own experiences of war alongside the remarkable and enduring story of the Spitfire and the men and women who designed, built and flew it.

🎧 INDIA’S JOAN OF ARC: THE INDIAN MUTINY AND ITS HEROINE, THE RANI OF JHANSI

Audio from Chalke Valley History Festival 2016.
In 1857, the Indian army mutinied and spread terror across the sub-continent, massacring men, women and children of the Raj. One of its leaders was a charismatic queen whose rebellion seemed justified by her tragic life. James Heneage tells her remarkable story, and the story of the Mutiny, the worst of Imperial crises.