(throughout: please click on the pictures for a bigger image)
History Live! with the Battlefields Trust
Assiduous followers of heritage news will know that this was called off on the morning of the event last year, flooded during 2012's rain-blighted and unseasonal July. This year, by contrast, driving in on Friday to set up was more like entering a dust bowl.
(ECW exhibits on the BFT stand: items found at Basing House)
(a relatively quiet period on the BFT stand ... so I get to take some pictures)
The Battlefields Trust had asked me to bring along my Bosworth game as an item to feature and talk about on the stand (the design, of course, is based on the BFT's recent archaeological project at the site). We also had the usual range of books and back issues, battlefield booklets and archaeological curiosities.
(Graham from Fluttering Flags with the Blore Heath game in the wargames tent)
The Wars of the Roses period was well represented with live action on the display grounds, Blore Heath in 28mm (variant Pike and Shotte) in the wargames tent, and my Bosworth (DBA) exhibit in 54mm in the History Live! pavillion. As well as Blore Heath there were Gaugamela WAB, ECW, and Bolt Action games plus some Warlord Games gear on sale.
(wargames by the Phoenix Club ... Blore Heath is behind the throng of players and enthusiasts)
Other interesting attractions over the weekend were the Sand Sculptures, Fair Ground attractions music and dumbshows ... Something for all the family, right down to 'make do and mend' wartime fashion demonstrations ...
(sand sculpture before and after: the now lost Euston Arch - I was fascinated by their work over the weekend)
(History Live!: a jester on stilts entertains a young audience)
The core, of course, is always live reenactment and arena displays, combined with living history encampments and, these days, wargamers and battlefield enthusiasts ...
English Heritage knows this is the best way to share our past with people of all ages.
(enthusiasts of all ages get involved on the Battlefields Trust stand)
(archaeological royalty pops over for a chat: Turton and Harding chew the fat)
(some nice Crusades period weapons on display in the Living History avenues)
But here are some more wargame pictures ...
(Ian Kay - Irregular - has added these casualties to his 54mm medievals, so I have factored them in)
(Bosworth ... Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond, with his uncle, Jasper, alongside)
(Bosworth on the BFT stand ... more)
... and Blore Heath ...
One of the more unusual features of the weekend is the Saturday night entertainment: most of the exhibitors stay over for the weekend, generally under canvas ... Having shut to the public at 6pm, the site reopens for exhibitors at 7: it is party time for the reenactors and display teams, with food, drink, fair rides and live music: it is probably the best and most anarchic fancy dress ball in Northamptonshire ...*
(Nuns, Nazis and Anemones ... but all in the best possible taste ... Kelmarsh party time)
OK, OK ... it's a jellyfish ... but you get the picture ...
I'm guessing History Live! was a great success this year ... certainly the BFT had record recruitment, the place seemed packed, there were occasional delays to the food operations as meat roasters sold faster than they could cook, and generally, the place was a sea of people - all seeming cheerful and interested. What a contrast to a year ago!**
(History Live!: The main arena on Sunday afternoon - late afternoon and still packed)
Politicians and planners please look at the pictures - no, not footie or the British GP ... this is the audience for 'history and military heritage'. Big, isn't it? Bigger than you thought, maybe?
Please take us into consideration when you plan your carparks and rail links.
(there was more than ancient and medieval, of course: Peninsula veterans march past)
I have put some pictures from the WWII zones on P.B.Eye-Candy ...
You can join The Battlefields Trust and help protect England's threatened heritage ...
The Society of Ancients will be at Claymore on August 3rd
*yes, I know, that may not be setting the bar very high ... nonetheless, these people are seriously committed to dressing up ...
** I append these contrasting photos. Hopefully 2014 will be more like this year (though wothout the extremes perhaps)
(from mud bath to dust bowl ...)