The Chelsea Society supported the first Chelsea History Festival, on 9–13 October 2019 along Royal Hospital Road at founder venues: the National Army Museum, the Royal Hospital Chelsea and the Chelsea Physic Garden. The all-new, five-day event brought the past to life through a programme of world-class speakers, historians and performers.
The festival opened on Wednesday 9 October, the 75th anniversary of Operation Market Garden, one of the most daring campaigns of the Second World War. Celebrated Arnhem veteran Victor Gregg was in conversation with bestselling historian Rick Stroud, followed by a lecture from Antony Beevor on the famous ‘battle for the bridges’. Other events included a lecture on NATO by the Governor of the Royal Hospital, Gen. Sir Adrian Bradshaw – a former deputy commander of NATO forces in Europe; and a lecture on the Dambusters by Max Hastings.
In its first year, the Chelsea History Festival hosted more than 35 events including talks, concerts and family activities. A diverse programme of free and ticketed events was designed to inspire, enlighten and entertain visitors from near and far. The festival provided a platform for both established authors and emerging talent to help make history more accessible. We look forward to the 2020 Festival.