Book tickets via www.gloucesterhistoryfestival.co.uk or 01452 396572
Shortly after being elected in 2010, in a moment of calculated madness, I asked a small group of friends in Gloucester to help me create a History Festival. Our Town Crier Alan Myatt had already recreated Gloucester Day as an annual celebration of the relief of the Siege of Gloucester (1643) and the Civic Trust was running a long weekend of Heritage Open Days: I thought we could link them with a week of History Talks and music, and so the Blackfriars Talks were created.
Nine Years on, and thanks to a small and dedicated team organising everything, we’ve expanded two great programmes of talks and events – one still in Blackfriars and the other (City Voices) across different venues in Gloucester (altogether about 80 events – plus some 15 walks to join and over 50 venues to visit during the Heritage Open Days, and Gloucester Day parades and stalls enhanced by a service in the brilliantly restored St Mary de Crypt church. Last year some 24,000 visitors came, seeing change around our City Centre as they move location.
Leading historian Michael Wood wrote that “seeing the transformation that’s taken place reminds me that Gloucester really is one of Britain’s greatest historic cities”.
In this year’s Festival – with a theme of Power to the People (with echoes from 1819, 1969 and 1989) everyone will have their favourite elements. Well known speakers like Alice Roberts, Max Hastings, Lucy Worsley, David Olusoga, Kate Adie and our own President Janina Ramirez have their fan clubs. Others will want to see the Mock Mayor of Barton installed, the veterans and our own Gloucester Old Spot pig parade: learn more about Gloucester’s underground Roman walls, see the Moon exhibition, go on a Poets walk, watch the Cathedral stone masons in action, or do heritage face painting. There are events on the history of the Gloucester Rugby, Dowtys, the Glos Constabulary and much more. Many will want to wash this Heritage down by visiting medieval pubs brewing their own beer or cider.
Many events are free and all are very reasonably priced. This year you can book by row and seat number in Blackfriars, so there is no need to queue for a seat: we’ve expanded the range of family friendly activities and spread more events across the city – for example a great event on the former Barnwood House Hospital in Wotton Hall Club.
So I hope you will look at the programme, find something that suits you and book via the website www.gloucesterhistoryfestival.com or by tel 01452 396572
See you today on Gloucester Day!
PS Bristol and Winchester are among those cities who’ve sought our help creating History Festivals. Our aim is to be the best urban History Festival in our country: inclusive, innovative and sometimes whacky. We know we won’t get everything right and will go on improving with your help – the best ‘how to be better next year’ suggestions will get free tickets so do mail me during or after the festival with your thoughts
Copyright © 2019 Richard Graham MP, All rights reserved.