Gloucester History Festival

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Editor's Choice

Gloucester History Festival is back for 2021, with a diverse programme of events on everything from the Tudors to Alan Turing.

After a pioneering online-only festival in 2020 in response to the Coronavirus pandemic, Gloucester History Festival returns this September 2021 with a programme of in-person and digital events.

Taking place from Saturday 4 to Sunday 19 September 2021, this year’s festival is themed Frontiers and Pioneers – recognising battles, inventions, advancements and new discoveries with a diverse range of speakers and exhibitions, alongside the ever-popular Heritage Open Days.

Blackfriars Talks at Gloucester History Festival

Some of this year’s highlights include historian and bestselling author Sarah Gristwood talking about The Tudors in Love, diving into Henry VIII’s many marriages, Elizabeth I’s courtiers, and other romantic obsessions that shaped the dynasty.

Alan Turing’s nephew Dermot Turing explores the pioneering codebreaker’s incredible legacy in his talk ‘Alan Turing: Bletchley Park and Beyond’ which promises to uncover the man behind the myth, including his heritage; the importance of women in his career; his sense of humour; and more little-known facts.

Former chief of English Heritage Simon Thurley tells the story of the Stuart dynasty through the magnificent buildings they lived in – from Charles II seducing mistresses in his Turkish Baths in Whitehall to James I’s housing estate in Newmarket.

Director of the V&A in London, Tristram Hunt, talks about his forthcoming biography of Josiah Wedgewood – Radical Potter: Josiah Wedgwood and the Transformation of Britain – detailing the incredible life of the pioneering English potter, entrepreneur and abolitionist; how he revolutionised ceramic production; and his influence on mass consumerism.

TV presenter and historian Marc Morris takes visitors back to the beginnings of England, as he documents the decline of the Roman Empire in Britain and how the Anglo-Saxons laid the foundations of the country we know today.

And Gloucester History Festival president and BBC2 presenter, Janina Ramirez, celebrates goddesses as she rediscovers the stories of some of history’s most famous female deities.

City Voices at Gloucester History Festival

Esteemed British Jamaican photographer Vanley Burke is mentoring four Gloucester-based artists for a project that asks people, when was the first time they saw a black person? Artists Thembe Mvula; Phil Campbell; JPDL; and Rider Shafique will produce creative responses to the answers, culminating in an exhibition during the festival, as well as a spoken word event on Wednesday 8 September 2021.

Created by women from the Gloucestershire Poetry Society, Llanthony Secunda Priory and inspired by the Bayeux Tapestry, the Illuminated Fragments project brings Gloucester’s history to life through personal stories, universal knowledge and needlework in a four-metre textile artwork.

Gloucester-based writer, Jarek Adams, is launching ‘Women’s Voices’ – a podcast series exploring the lives and stories of local women, while photographer Shadowed Eyes presents an exhibition at The Folk of Gloucester including a huge mosaic comprised of over 600 images.

Heritage Open Days at Gloucester History Festival

Gloucester’s historic buildings are throwing open their doors from Friday 10 to Monday 13 September 2021 for Heritage Open Days, as part of Gloucester History Festival – offering visitors a chance to step inside iconic buildings, including one of the best-preserved Tudor merchant’s houses in the country and even uncover Roman ruins.

Tickets for Gloucester History Festival events, including Blackfriars Talks, City Voices and Heritage Open Days, go on sale to members on Friday 16 July 2021 and on general sale on Tuesday 20 July 2021.

For more information, or to book tickets, visit

By Chloe Gorman

Gloucester History Festival 2021
Venues vary per event
Saturday 4 to Sunday 19 September 2021
Times vary per event
Blackfriars Talks tickets cost from £8 each. Heritage Open Days admission is free.
(01452) 425295

© SoGlos
Thursday 08 July 2021

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