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Hampshire HistBites

Author: Winchester Heritage Open Days

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A brilliant history and heritage podcast created by the volunteers behind Winchester Heritage Open Days. Your opportunity to delve into the past and go on a journey to discover some of Hampshire's best, and occasionally unknown, history. Since season one begin August 2020 we've been speaking to experts and enthusiasts and asking them to reveal some of our hidden heritage as well as share with you fascinating untold tales.
32 Episodes
May 12th is International Nurses’ Day and in this podcast we celebrate the life of one of Hampshire’s most influential Victorians, the nurse and campaigner Florence Nightingale. From her home at Embley Park near Romsey, she set off for the Crimean War where she introduced pioneering hygiene measures that saved countless lives and established a template for modern nursing. Her ‘Wash your Hands’ message has never been more relevant.Julie Dypdal talks to local artist Sophie Hacker about the stained glass window she created for Romsey Abbey to mark Florence Nightingale’s bicentenary last year, and Florence’s lasting legacy in the county and beyond.For more information, including show notes and a transcript, please visit our website: note this is the final episode of Season 3. We will be returning in June with Season 4.
Among the treasures on display in Winchester Cathedral is the ancient Sigmund Stone, excavated from the remains of the Saxon cathedral on the same site. Carved on this stone fragment is a scene from the Old Norse Volsunga Saga, a compendium of tales that provide a window into the treacherous and brutal Viking world. Aisha Al-Sadie, Learning Officer at the cathedral, takes us back to the time of wolves and forests, great feasts and bloody battles as she narrates a story of King Volsung and his feud with the dastardly King Siggeir.The Sigmund Stone is on display in the Kings and Scribes exhibition in Winchester Cathedral, which will be open to the public from May 17th, subject to government guidelines. See for more information.For more information, including show notes and a transcript, please visit our website: note this is the penultimate episode of Season 3. On 12th May the final Season 3 episode will be released and then there will be a short break of around 4 weeks whilst we prepare the next Season. 
Hampshire-based explorer John Pilkington continues his travelogue, recounting to Emily Briffett how a childhood love of maps led to his wanderings in far flung corners of the globe. Here he regales us with tales of tracing dinosaur footprints in Bolivia, witnessing the birth of post-Soviet Kyrgyzstan, getting stranded in Antarctica, tracking down Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and becoming the first European to visit the source of Mekong River.For more information, including show notes and a transcript, please visit our website:
Inveterate traveller John Pilkington talks about following the trail of Marco Polo along the ancient Silk Road to China, where he discovers a surprising link between Suzhou, the Venice of the East, and Hampshire’s Whitchurch Silk Mill. Among the highlights of his travels, he tells Emily Briffett, are his travels among nomadic people in Afghanistan and traversing high mountain ranges between Pakistan and China along the Karakoram Highway. En route he meets many challenges, including offerings of rancid yak butter tea and battles with obstinate camels.For more information, including show notes and a transcript, please visit our website:
St Swithun’s archivist Elly Crookes talks to Julie Dypdal about the school’s eventful history and its fascinating archives-which include letters from Christina Rosetti and William Wilberforce.Educating girls wasn’t a priority in Victorian England but the pioneering founders of St Swithun’s School in Winchester helped to change that in Hampshire. By the end of the 19th century its female pupils were studying not just reading and writing but science, economics, engineering and money management. A feisty spirit was encouraged among pupils: when school buildings were requisitioned for troops during the two world wars, the girls played and beat Canadian soldiers at lacrosse and taught GIs to play cricket. For more information, including show notes and a transcript, please visit our website:
What was life like for women in Emperor Nero’s court? This knotty issue is just one of the preoccupations of Carey Fleiner, senior lecturer in Classical and Early Medieval studies at the University of Winchester. In this episode Dr Fleiner talks to Ingrid Tofteng about Nero’s wives, Pompeii and the Vesuvius eruption of 1944-and how the influence of the Roman Empire has reached down through the centuries. Along the way we hear about Carey’s work behind the scenes at the British Museum and the joy of living in Winchester, where echoes of the Roman world lie just beyond her back door.This episode was  first recorded by students of Cultural Heritage and Resource Management masters course in coordination with the University of Winchester for Heritage Open Days 2020, and has been re-edited specially for us as a podcast.For more information, including show notes and a transcript, please visit our website:
If you find yourself on St Giles Hill or walking along Chesil Street in Winchester, listen out for the ghostly whistle of a steam train or the clang of a signal bell. Here, at the foot of St Giles Hill, was Cheese Hill (later Chesil) Station, opened in 1885 as a stop on the ill-starred Didcot, Newbury and Southampton Railway line. From here Hampshire strawberries were carried to London, race horses to Newbury and thousands of troops to Southampton to embark on journeys to the Western Front, and, later, the Normandy beaches. The line closed in the1960s, but tantalising fragments of station and railway remain. Winchester tourist guide Clare Dixon talks to Julie Dypdal about the history of the railway, and takes us on a podcast tour of the bridges and buildings, tunnel and viaduct that still form part of the Winchester landscape.For more information, including show notes and a transcript, please visit our website:
How will future generations regard the Covid-19 pandemic and the way it changed our lives? Here in Hampshire, Zoe Viney of Wessex Film & Sound Archive  run by and based at Hampshire Record Office in Winchester is helping to create a record of local life in lockdown through the project Making History: Making Movies. In this latest episode she talks to Eleanor Andrews-Steele about her work curating historic film and invites us all to participate in the project by recording our personal experiences of the good, the bad and the boring aspects of life amid a pandemic. For more information about how to submit your memories, please visit our website: You will also find our more detailed show notes and a transcript here
Take a walk along the banks of the River Itchen and you enter a magical world where otters play, mayfly dart, brown trout slip through the weeds and water vole peer from burrows. Winchester has its very own Wind in the Willows habitat and Susan Simmonds of the Hampshire Wildlife Trust talks to Kyle Alexander about her work protecting and celebrating the county’s glorious chalk stream landscapes and where and when to spot the Itchen’s beguiling array of wildlife.Hampshire &Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust more information, including show notes and a transcript, please visit our website:
Archeologist Alex Langlands, presenter of the BBC’s Victorian Farm series, talks to Charlotte Tindle about his book Cræft and how, over centuries, we humans have learnt to use the natural materials around us to practical ends, from whittling wood or spinning wool to smoking  fish and meat. Working with nature can help us engage with our local landscape in a more meaningful way, as he has also recently revealed in his YouTube videos on the art of basket-making using wild hedgerow brambles. Do visit if you want to learn how to turn brambles and weeds into baskets!Alex Langlands is currently a lecturer in medieval history, archaeology and heritage at Swansea University, and a patron of the Heritage Crafts Association. He presented the BBC programmes Victorian Farm, Edwardian Farm and Wartime Farm and is the author of Craeft: An Enquiry into the Origins of Crafts (Faber, from £15.63). This podcast was first released by CHaRM at University of Winchester as a video for the 2020 Winchester Heritage Open Days festival, and has been re-edited specially for Histbites.For more information, including full credits, our show notes and a transcript, please visit our website:
HistBites is the brainchild of Nicky Gottlieb and Becky Brown, the festival directors of Winchester Heritage Open Days. In this specially commissioned episode they talk to Emma Cornell-Stoffer about their favourite podcasts so far, ranging from the colourful history of vintage King Alfred buses to the sometimes gory stories behind our popular sea shanties.More exciting podcasts are planned. Look out, they say, for episodes covering Hampshire chalk streams, Florence Nightingale and the Chesil Railway-not to mention a mouthwatering schedule of events for Winchester’s 2021 Heritage Open Days celebrating Edible EnglandFor more information, including show notes and a transcript, please visit our website:
Bored with #lockdown, looking for something to add interest to your day? Then join us for a conversation about the Twitter postbox challenge with this week's guest hosts, Madelaine and Catherine. During previous and current lockdown walks they have been noticing details that might normally be missed. For example, Catherine spotted various door knockers and Madelaine started photographing boot scrapers outside front doors. By photographing these items, they were able to spot differences and fashions. A tweet by Winchester Heritage Open Days about the only Edward VIII postbox in Winchester set them off photographing post-boxes and posting them on Twitter with the hashtag #PostboxChallenge.For more information, including show notes and a transcript, please visit our website: is our final podcast of Season Two - we are now going to take a short break to prepare Season Three. We will be back on 3rd March, but until then you can listen again (and again) to all our podcasts from Season One and Two, as well as enjoy our films and recorded talks from last year’s Heritage Open Days festival. Find out more here.
Join Cecily and Rachel as they share their passion for dramatising the stories of Hampshire's ‘unheard, unsung and unvisited’2TimeTheatre is a young and innovative Hampshire theatre company that works with local talent and tiny budgets to revitalise the work of long dead writers as well as producing brilliant original work telling the hidden stories of women. William Shakespeare, Jane Austen and Sir Walter Raleigh are among the host of characters with local connections whose Hampshire lives and adventures have been brought to life by Rachel and Cecily O’Neill. Here they discuss the joys and challenges of using words and music to stage the stories of these and a host of other fascinating characters in churches, halls and other venues around Winchester and Southampton.  
Welcome to part two of Johanna Strong’s episodes exploring Mary I’s life. In this one we discover Mary I’s connections to two English landmarks - Wolvesey Castle in Winchester, and Hampton Court Palace in Surrey. Both sites observed major moments in her life, namely marriage and expected childbirth.Content Warning - This episode contains a sensitive topic that some people may find uncomfortable. It concerns phantom pregnancies. If you wish to avoid this section, skip between 11:15 and 15:18.In 1553, Mary I succeeded Edward VI to the throne and in doing so made English history by being the first crowned queen regnant of England – that is, she was queen in her own right. As a result, many important events in her life as queen were historical firsts for England. Never before had a queen regnant in England been married during her reign and never before had an English queen regnant taken to her chambers to give birth. Yet little of her life has been interpreted at either of the sites which saw some of these historical firsts.For more information, including show notes and a transcript, please visit our website:
The life of Mary I has deep connections with both Winchester Cathedral and Westminster Abbey. How was she forgotten by these churches? Johanna Strong uncovers the truth. This podcast looks at the ways in which Mary I, first crowned queen regnant of England, is remembered in Westminster Abbey – the site of her coronation and burial – and in Winchester Cathedral – the site of her marriage to Philip II of Spain. Mary’s presence is not physically easily evident in either church which is in itself a representation of her legacy in the historical narrative. 
After Empress Matilda fails to gain the support of London and is chased out by its inhabitants, she journeys to Winchester and makes her camp there. Join Catherine Capel as she explores the events leading up to this moment and analyses the Empress’ decision to make the city her base of operations. In Winchester, arrows will fly, blades will clash, and blood will spill, but only one side will come out on top.For more information, including show notes and a transcript, please visit our website:
One of our most popular events from the 2020 Winchester Open Days Festival was a live streamed event with Eoghan, founder of Proudfoot & Co. We were therefore delighted Eoghan met up with food historian and HistBites podcaster, Emma Cornell-Stoffer and discussed our British culinary heritage. In this wonderful podcast they explore the history of the British pantry, and take us into the fascinating and innovative world of foraging, fermenting and barrel-ageing.For more information, including show notes and a transcript, please visit our website:
We’ve been handwriting letters for thousands of years, but in recent times it has become a lost art as many of us use emails and text messages instead. A loss for us and possibly also for future historians, as not only have letters often revealed intimate thoughts and details of life in the past, but they enable us to touch a piece of history. Emails are unlikely to do that, and text messages certainly won’t!So why not join Ellie as she talks to Dinah Johnson, founder of The Handwritten Letter Appreciation Society, and discover why sending and receiving letters is a special and unique way to connect with each other and our past.For more information, including a transcript and further information, go to out website:
How do we remember the struggle of medieval sex workers? Lucy Coleman Talbot explains how the Winchester Cathedral keeps the memory of the Winchester Geese alive.Also discussed is the history of Crossbones Graveyard throughout the years and its link between modern and medieval sex work. The modern social issues around sex work have existed for centuries, discover how we can remember the Geese for a brighter future.For more information, including who the Winchester Geese were, details of the first podcast please visit our website: You can also on our website read the full show notes and download a written transcript of this podcast
Did you know that from the 12th to 17th century Southwark in London was controlled by the Bishop of Winchester? Among other powers, the Bishop had the right to license and tax the borough’s prostitutes, they became known as the ‘Winchester Geese’. Lucy Coleman Talbot sheds light on the Bishops' involvement, as well as the suffering endured by medieval sex workers and how we know their story from a graveyard. For more information, including show notes and a transcription, please visit our website
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