🎧 Young Churchill

Recording from Chalke Valley History Festival 2019.

When we think of Winston Churchill we think of the gruff wartime leader with the bulldog features, cigar and hat. It’s hard to imagine he was ever young. But in this talk for all ages, best-selling author and comedian, Charlie Higson will vividly bring the young Winston to life, from when he joined the army aged 20 until he first entered parliament five years later, having fought on three continents and begun his writing career as a war correspondent.

🎧 THE MAYFLOWER GENERATION: THE FAMILIES, THE VOYAGE AND THE FOUNDING OF AMERICA

Audio from Chalke Valley History Festival 2018.
The voyage of the Mayflower leading to the founding of Plymouth Colony is one of the seminal events in world history. The group of English Puritans who ventured across the Atlantic in 1620 were ill prepared for the brutal journey and life in a new land. Writer and broadcaster Rebecca Fraser traces two generations of one family and their extraordinary response to the challenges of life in America.

🎧 WE SHALL GO TO THE MOON: THE ADVENTURE OF APOLLO

Audio from Chalke Valley History Festival 2019.

Journey back to the Moon landings 50 years ago with Stephen Wisdom as he relates 11 little-known details about the journey of Apollo 11. Fun and accessible, the talk is packed with stories of the characters that defined those momentous times.

🎧 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.