The dates for this year’s Daily Mail Chalke Valley History Festival, the world’s largest festival entirely devoted to history, have been announced. Set in Broad Chalke, close to the City of Salisbury in south-west Wiltshire, the must-attend event for history enthusiasts will take place from Monday 25 June to Sunday 1 July 2018. Offering a unique blend of talks, discussions and topical debates, alongside a vast living history through-the- ages encampment and spectacular air displays, it is the biggest annual celebration of history in the land, and an opportunity to learn about the past, whatever age you are.
This summer the new ‘Live History Live’ programme – a series of some 50 events at the weekend – will offer visitors the chance to see, touch and feel history first hand. Free for all those already attending the Festival, each event will be presented by a leading historian who will be adding context to the specialist knowledge offered by expert living historians, who will be demonstrating a wide and fascinating range of activities, from historic cookery to surgery, using techniques and materials from the past. Amongst those already signed up to front these exciting ‘Live History Live’ events, as well as participating in the main literary programme, are: Ben Kane, Dan Jones, Alex Langlands, and Helen Castor.
Also new for 2018, the Festival will be celebrating its ‘Chalke Valley History Heroes’. The Chalke Valley has in the past been home to some notable local figures and, to shine a light on their extraordinary lives, there will be a series of inspiring talks about the antiquarian and historian, John Aubrey, photographer and designer Cecil Beaton, authors Terry Pratchett and William Golding, artist Henry Lamb and former Prime Minister, Anthony Eden. There will be a recreation of Terry Pratchett’s extraordinary writing office in a new special exhibition called ‘The Shed of Doom’ and, on the Sunday morning, courtesy of the Discworld Conjuror’s Guild, the Festival will be welcoming the fabulous and award-winning Time-Travelling Magicians Morgan & West.
As in previous years, there will be a distinguished line-up of historians and commentators speaking at this year’s Festival. Well-known names already confirmed include: Simon Schama, Robert Peston, Tracy Borman, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Michael Dobbs, Fiona Carnarvon, Rana Mitter, Kate Mosse, Tony Robinson, Nicholas Coleridge, Robin Hanbury-Tenison, Sarah Churchwell, Gordon Corera and Charles Spencer. Flying in to talk about ‘Thomas Jefferson and the Empire of Imagination,’ will be acclaimed Harvard Academic Professor Annette Gordon-Reed, and delivering the first ‘CVHF Directors’ Lecture’ will be Professor Ali Ansari from St Andrew’s University.