Notable historians are giving talks on a variety of local subjects throughout the festival.
Many of these events are now sold out. Please check with the relevant library before attending if you have not booked online.
When visiting Hampton Court Palace, most visitors understand that Henry VIII lived there, but not all realise he had almost 60 other palatial residences which he used during his reign.
If you wondered how the Tudor family first became acquainted with Hampton Court; whether Wolsey built his Palace without the King’s acquiescence; what Henry was responsible for architecturally or what major events took place at Hampton Court during his reign, then this hour long, fully illustrated presentation, will try and answer these questions and many more in an entertaining and informative way.
Sir David Williams
The Comte de Paris, the Orleans pretender to the French throne, lived at York House from 1864 to 1871. His daughters Amélie and Hélène were born here in 1865 and 1871. Hélène fell in love with Prince Eddy, the heir to the British throne, but later married into the Italian royal family. Amélie became Queen of Portugal, but saw her husband assassinated. David will give an illustrated talk on the eventful lives of our Twickenham princesses.
Mortlake and East Sheen have changed almost beyond recognition in the past 100 years. Using local archives and contemporary photographs of the area, this talk illustrates how local people lived and worked at the beginning of the 20th century.
Dr Tracy Borman
‘I do not live in a corner. A thousand eyes see all I do.’ (Elizabeth I)
This talk will take the audience behind closed doors to explore the private lives, loves and scandals of the most celebrated royal dynasty in history. From the founder of the Tudors, Henry VII, whose beautiful young wife, Elizabeth of York, fell pregnant within hours of the wedding ceremony, to their much-married younger son, the future Henry VIII, whose turbulent private life scandalised Europe and tore England apart, the narrative will shed dramatic new light upon the most enduringly popular dynasty in history.
Dr Tracy Borman is an expert on the Tudors and uniquely placed to explore their private lives. Her highly acclaimed book, Elizabeth’s Women, was Book of the Week on Radio 4, and her latest biography, Thomas Cromwell: the untold story of Henry VIII’s most faithful servant, was a Sunday Times bestseller. As well as being a writer and historian, Tracy is joint Chief Curator of Historic Royal Palaces. She therefore has unparalleled access to the archives, collections and palaces in which so much of the narrative takes place, notably Hampton Court and the Tower of London.
A lost pub and brew house. A lost road and a lost mill. What remains of Whitton Park Innovative architecture; German prisoners of war and ‘The Whitton Stones’. All this and more of Hidden Whitton.
From 1846 to the late 1920s a secluded building in Kew Foot Road provided a discreet service to Queen Victoria and her successors. It was here that up to 700,000 items of dirty linen from the entire royal household were laundered each year, under such secure conditions that the story of the Royal Laundry has remained largely untold. Local writer Lucinda Ganderton, who has researched this lost landmark, reveals its intriguing history and social context.
Focusing on the Udney Park Estate in Teddington as an example of suburban growth since 1870, this talk will consider the forces behind the growth of the estate, including the role of builders, land owners and middle class aspirations for a better life away from inner-city problems; housing; the people who came to live on the estate; and the presence or otherwise of a suburban community.
Drawing on earlier fund-raising talks on the architecture of Richmond for the Museum of Richmond and from his leading guided walks in Richmond and nearby areas for the Richmond Society and the Twentieth Century Society, local architect and architectural historian, Paul Velluet, will give an illustrated talk on architecture and design in Richmond and neighbouring areas during the twentieth century.
This heavily illustrated talk will feature some rare and unique images from a collection formed over more than 30 years. The earliest photos date from 1859 and there will be some stunning images from Edwardian times as well as a selection of more modern aerial views. This talk will include an overall history of the park and surrounding area and many aspects of the park and its attractions.
One of the most down-to-earth problems facing local communities in the second half of the nineteenth century was how to deal with the human waste generated by their ever-growing population. This talk will reveal how the Hampton Wick Local Board used ingenuity and a capacity for opportunism to create its own unique solution to the problem which still operates to this day.
Lara Bond and Emily Ward-Willis
Lara and Emily will explore War and the home front of the Borough of Richmond upon Thames by using original records held in both The National Archives and Local Studies Library and Archive in Richmond. They aim to show how both the collections complement each other and that Archives aren’t scary places to work in!
Sir David Williams
For 39 years Ham had its own local council. The small Urban District Council covered not only Ham as it is today, with nearly half of Richmond Park, but also the former Hawker aircraft factory and most of what is now the Tudor Estate in north Kingston. David will tell the story of Ham and our own little local council during the four decades it existed.
Richmond Park played an important role during both World Wars - this talk will cover the Military camp, the Royal Flying Corps, the South African Military Hospital – including an 8 minute black and white film of the hospital – and maintenance of the animals and parkland during WW1. Once again during WW2 the face of the Park changed - the Kingston Gate Camp, Anti-Aircraft guns, the Phantom Squad, Radar installations, Star Fish Decoy and wartime memories will all be discussed.
The lives of Henry VIII’s wives make for dramatic stories. In her forthcoming series of novels Alison Weir will offer fresh insights into the lives of these six queens, based on extensive research and new theories. It has become fashionable to talk up the roles of women in the past, and inevitably that has led to their being overstated; but when we consider the gritty reality of life for women in the Tudor age, and the dangers of living in a court riddled with intrigue, then the ascendancy of women such as Anne Boleyn can rightly be portrayed as a triumph, and remarkable.
Alison Weir will evoke the world of a court dominated by the will of an egomaniacal, suggestible king, and the power politics and ruthlessness that were the reality behind its magnificent façade, and relate how Henry’s six queens lived a hair’s breadth away from disaster – and how it frequently overtook them. Theirs are grim and tragic stories, set in a lost world of splendour and brutality: a world in which love, or the game of it, dominated, but dynastic pressures overrode any romantic considerations. In this world, one dominated by religious change, there are few saints.
Alison Weir’s books are for sale at the event.
Peter Ackroyd calls the Thames ‘the most painted river in the world’. It has also been the favoured river of writers and poets. From its source to the sea it has been variously seen as the sweet river of Spenser’s Prothalamion and the ironically ‘sweet’ river of T.S.Eliot’s The Waste Land - from flowery arcadian banks to a river of death. In the nineteenth century the Pool of London was described as the ‘epicentre’ of the world – where all nations and commerce met.
This talk will journey down the river but particularly look at the way some of the greatest artists have treated the river and its banks in central London, where Hogarth, Canaletto, Scott, Turner, Constable, Egg, Dore, Whistler, Monet, Derain, Nevinson and others have celebrated both the poetry and romance as well as the commercial power and mystery of this great waterway.
Updated: 13 September 2016