Join Janina Ramirez, our festival president, as she offers her Christmas Message to us all.
2023 Festival dates:
The King’s Talks start in February 2023
The new Spring History Festival runs from 21-23 April 2023
Main History Festival is back from 2-17 September 2023
Watch out for the line up of speakers coming soon and enjoy exploring more festive content below.
Looking back at Christmas Past with Michael Wood & Bettany Hughes
Michael Wood and Bettany Hughes, two of our founder patrons, share their short Christmas messages from 2020, giving us a glimpse of China’s extraordinary past and an ancient Babylonian greeting from 4,500 years ago: ‘to peace and to life and to love’.
The 600th anniversary of Dick Whittington
As Janina says, 2023 also sees the 600th anniversary of Dick Whittington – the Gloucestershire man of legend who became thrice Lord Mayor of London – find out more here about his intriguing story which we’ll be delving into at next September’s Festival.
Finally 2023 Spring History Festival from 21-23 April marks the exact anniversary of the Battle of the Imjin River, one of the turning points of the Korean War. Here’s a chance to watch again one of the Festival’s most memorable events as two veterans of the battle, Brian Hamblett and Tommy Clough, join Dan Snow to recount – with their sense of humour fully intact – their first hand experiences under fire, as prisoners of war and reflecting on how the battle has affected their lives.
You can enjoy Festival events too as part of our Best of Blackfriars highlights alongside fascinating conversations with David Olusoga, Olivette Otele, Mary Beard, Neil Gaiman and many more. And don’t miss over 100 history talks, walks and tours to watch for free on the festival website.
Are school days really the best days of our lives? Historian, archivist and former Deputy Head of King’s School David Evans lifts the lid on the intriguing history of Gloucester’s oldest schools and some extraordinary pupils. From Gloucester’s John Stafford Smith, who wrote the US national anthem ‘The Star-Spangled Banner, to the 14th century schoolboys allowed a pig’s bladder to play ‘mob football’ in the streets of medieval Gloucester on Shrove Tuesday.
David Evans talks about his newly published book,The Ancient Schools of Gloucester, at the King’s School’s Ivor Gurney Hall in February 2023, to kick off the first season of King’s Talks. Look out for more details about the King’s Talks on the website in January.
Also, specially for schools, City Archaeologist Andrew Armstrong and his team will be holding free events for primary school pupils at the Ivor Gurney Hall. Based on his book Gloucester: Recreating the Past, Andrew will explore Gloucester’s amazing story from the Roman times to the present day – showing what our city used to look like and why. The Gloucester History Trust will provide transport, so if your child’s school would like to come at zero cost do please email us on
With grateful thanks to our King’s Talks sponsors: Hazlewoods, Allstone and The Honourable Company of Gloucestershire’s Trust.
Image: Two boys playing football from 4th century wood carving in the quire at Gloucester Cathedral
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