Chalke Valley History Festivals Ltd has been created to further the enjoyment and understanding of our rich and varied history. All profits go to the Chalke Valley History Trust, established to promote the understanding and importance of history to all ages and, in particular, to school children.
The Festival was set up in 2011 and was the brainchild of James Heneage and James Holland, two history enthusiasts and writers. James Heneage had a background in Literary Festivals, having chaired the Cheltenham Literature Festival. It was James Holland who came up with the idea of combining literature festival with ‘living history’ displays, put on by the best of the re-enactment community. Thus a completely new kind of festival was born, one that would appeal to anyone interested in history.
The second year’s Festival took place in the last week in June 2012 at its new venue just west of the Chalke Valley village of Ebbesbourne Wake. The area chosen was not only outstandingly beautiful, but offered the space and setting to do everything from lectures to Napoleonic battles to a Spitfire fly-past. The Festival went on for six days and had a dazzling cast of speakers including Ian Hislop, Jeremy Paxman, Michael Morpurgo, Michael Gove and Alison Weir. Over 14,000 tickets were sold.
This year’s Festival will be held 24-30 June 2013 and will follow the same unique formula of literature festival and living history display but it will be bigger and a day longer. Speakers will include Boris Johnson and Antonia Fraser and there will be an Air Display at the weekend featuring aircraft from the First and Second World War. There will be restaurants, bars and even dancing on Friday night. It will be a very enjoyable celebration of history.
THE CHALKE VALLEY HISTORY TRUST (Registered charity no:1148413)
The Trust was set up in 2012 so that all profits from the Festival could be channelled into a vehicle that would meet its objective: ‘to promote the importance and enjoyment of history to the widest possible audience and, in particular, the young.’
After extensive research among historians and the teaching community, the Trust decided upon three core strategies to meet its objectives:
1. To broaden the appeal of history through the content of the Festival itself, and to improve access to the Festival to the widest possible audience.
2. To set up a ‘Schools Festival’ to run parallel to the main Festival in June which would offer broadly the same formula to school children, via a programme relevant to the curriculum.
3. To set up a ‘History Hub’ of short, digital films featuring established historians talking about subjects relevant to the schools’ curriculum. These would be freely downloadable by teachers for use in their lessons.
Over the latter part of 2012, the CVHF Management has been successful in raising funds towards the Trust’s activities and all three parts of the strategy will be in place by the 2013 Festival.
The Trustees are Peter Bell, Tom Holland, Penny Marland and Stephen Whitmore.
CHALKE VALLEY HISTORY FESTIVALS MANAGEMENT
James Heneage, Festival Co-Chair and Managing
Founder of Ottakar’s chain of Bookshops, sold to Waterstones
in 2006. Former Chairman of Cheltenham Literature Festival.
Now a writer of historical fiction.
James Holland, Festival Co-Chair and Programme Director.
Best-selling author of historical fiction and non-fiction, broadcaster and presenter.
Peter Bell, Treasurer.
Managing Director, UK M&A, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and trustee of SWAN Advocacy Network, a mental health charity.
Jane Pleydell-Bouverie, Development Director.
Former television producer & Governor of the Royal Ballet, currently Governor of Live Music Now and Trustee of Rambert School of Ballet & Contemporary Dance.
Rachel Holland, Operations Director.
Long experience in Executive Search with specialisation in the education sector.
The Chalke Valley History Festival has a Steering Committee comprising the above plus Pam Clover, Hannah Bell, Phil Ewen, Abigail Ashton-Johnson, Penny Marland, Elli Hooper, Tom Hooper, George Ashe and Katie Whitmore, all of whom perform various management services for the Festival.