Centenary celebrations in the sunshine at Wimpole History Festival 2018

Crowds joined in with the Suffragette march. Picture: Martin Bond

Crowds joined in with the Suffragette march. Picture: Martin Bond - Credit: Archant

Visitors stepped back in time for the second Wimpole History Festival at the weekend – which honoured the centenaries of women’s suffrage, the end of the First World War and the birth of the RAF.

David Olusoga's talk was on 'looking back to look forward'. Picture: Martin Bond

David Olusoga's talk was on 'looking back to look forward'. Picture: Martin Bond - Credit: Archant

The three-day event – the product of a union between the Cambridge Literary Festival and the National Trust – had expectations to live up to and exceed, and it did not disappoint.

The stellar line-up of speakers who decended on the Arrington-based estate included Alice Roberts, David Olusoga, Mary Beard, Christopher Andrew, Helen Castor, Sarah Churchwell, Jenni Murray, Charles Spencer and Diane Atkinson – and many commented on what a stunning location it was.

Canadian journalist Ann Macmillan gave a talk with her husband Peter Snow, on War Stories. Picture:

Canadian journalist Ann Macmillan gave a talk with her husband Peter Snow, on War Stories. Picture: Martin Bond - Credit: Archant

All this against a backdrop of Dakota and Spitfire flyovers, Suffragette protestors, a blitz policeman keeping the peace and directing traffic, Georgian duellists and bomber boys, archery, falconry and sword school.

Festival director Cathy Moore said: “What a glorious weekend in every sense and hugely satisfying to see so many people from across the generations coming together at the wonderful Wimpole Estate to enjoy history.

Helen Castor giving a talk on Elizabeth I. Picture: Martin Bond

Helen Castor giving a talk on Elizabeth I. Picture: Martin Bond - Credit: Archant


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“We increased ticket numbers on last year by 20 per cent which could be seen by the overflowing car parks, queues to get into the event marquees, at the book signings and at the food trailers. “It is inspiring to see so many people engaging with history not only to unravel the past in order to help understand our challenging present, but also to marvel at the reservoir of remarkable true stories told by exceptional speakers. Who knows, perhaps an enthusiastic junior will become the Mary Beard or David Olusoga of the future thanks to the calibre ofthe events at Wimpole.”

Paul Forecast, the National Trust regional director for the east of England, said: “We were thrilled with this year’s festival. It already feels like the must-do thing in the calendar and it is great that we are committed to do this into the foreseeable future.

Helen Castor signing her new book after her talk. Picture: Martin Bond

Helen Castor signing her new book after her talk. Picture: Martin Bond - Credit: Archant

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“Thanks to our amazing speakers, this has shown that history is not to be found in text books but is alive and well and of utmost relevance.

“It is wonderful to sate the appetites of young minds newly introduced to history alongside those enthusiastic for more knowledge: all were united by a passion to learn about the past and to gain an insight into our present and possible future as well.”

Dakota aircraft flies over WImpole Hall. Picture: Martin Bond

Dakota aircraft flies over WImpole Hall. Picture: Martin Bond - Credit: Archant

Plans are already underway for the Wimpole History Festival 2019 – which will take place from Friday to Sunday, June 21 to 23.

For more information on this year’s event go to www.wimpolehistoryfestival.com.

Wimpole History Festival 2018. Picture: Martin Bond

Wimpole History Festival 2018. Picture: Martin Bond - Credit: Archant

Wimpole History Festival 2018. Picture: Martin Bond

Wimpole History Festival 2018. Picture: Martin Bond - Credit: Archant

Children got stuck in with the entertainment. Picture: Martin Bond

Children got stuck in with the entertainment. Picture: Martin Bond - Credit: Archant

The crowds going into the East Lawn Marquee Picture: Martin Bond

The crowds going into the East Lawn Marquee Picture: Martin Bond - Credit: Archant

Suffragette re-enactors Sarah-Jane Worrall and Denise Gibbons. Picture: Martin Bond

Suffragette re-enactors Sarah-Jane Worrall and Denise Gibbons. Picture: Martin Bond - Credit: Archant

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