St Swithun's School, Winchester brought to life the sights, sounds and smells of history on Wednesday 5 July for History LIVE!, a one day festival organised by the school’s history department.
Over 1000 visitors, including 500 students and teachers from 10 local primary and secondary schools attended the festival. There were displays of spear fighting and musket firing; performances from regency dancers and award-winning comedians; re-enactments; and a falconry demonstration. 120 individual contributors took part in the festival, including the Army Air Corps, English Heritage, Salisbury Cathedral, National Trust and museums across Winchester.
A highlight of the afternoon was the march of the Band of the Coldstream Guards, one of the oldest regiments in the world, with an international reputation for musical excellence. In addition to the traditional march of the full band, some of the musicians performed rare 18th century pieces. The band also held an inspirational workshop for talented musicians from St Swithun’s and visiting schools.
An Army Air Corps’ Gazelle helicopter from the Falklands War and the army’s latest acquisition, a Wildcat helicopter, landed on the school’s field in front of an audience that included Chelsea Pensioners.
Author, broadcaster and historian Julie Summers, whose work inspired the ITV drama series Home Fires spoke about the impact of evacuation on family life after the Second World War. Dr. Tracy Borman, joint chief curator of the Historic Royal Palaces, talked about her latest book and TV series The Private Lives of the Tudors.
Academic departments in St Swithun’s School each hosted an activity with an historic spin, including medieval moisturiser making in chemistry and an investigation of the maths that underpins how trebuchets work.
Georgina Manville, head of history at St Swithun’s said “I am so grateful to all who have contributed to the scale and variety of activities on offer at History LIVE! It’s thrilling to see pupils across the age ranges enjoying history come alive. It’s been educational, inspiring and really good fun.”