Despite the slightly damp conditions here at the Chalke Valley History Festival site a few days ago, we have now shaken off our raincoats and the weather looks fair for the rest of week. We have been treated to a fantastic series of events and talks already, with so many inspiring debates and study mornings that it’s hard to choose our highlights at this stage. However, if we had to flag up some particular favourites, we’d probably single these ones out.
On Monday, we were honoured to welcome three German World War II veterans – Hugo Broch, Günter Halm and Karl Leuffert – who came to speak to a select audience of 100 people and shared their incredible wartime experiences. Hugo Broch in particular has been hitting the news headlines since he arrived in the UK because on Tuesday he also went to Biggin Hill to fly in a Spitfire for the first time. Dan Snow, who is here at the Festival all week with his HistoryHit team, was there to interview him.
On Tuesday evening one of our most popular and respected political journalists Andrew Marr came to give a talk on the history of modern Britain, and took the opportunity to have a go at the use of social media nowadays and to share his view that Brexit had left Britain ‘badly divided’.
Yesterday we had around 1,000 Year 10 and 12 students attending our Schools Festival. The site was teaming with enthusiastic 13 and 15 year olds, eager to learn some ‘hands on’ history from the living historians who are here to share their knowledge all week. They had the rare opportunity to hear from the likes of Suzannah Lipscomb who was talking about Witchcraft and the Witch-Trials, and from Dr Gareth Davies who spoke about African-American Civil Rights. The First World War Trench experience was as popular as ever, and the students listening to the falconry session were treated to an amazing display as the birds swooped overhead.
After today, we still have 3 more jam-packed days of #AmazingHistory to look forward to, including some iconic warbirds that will be flying over the site at the weekend and some dancing to the Bombshell Belles on Saturday night. We look forward to seeing you then!