Beaumanor History Fair
A major History Fair, organised by the Leicestershire Archaeological & Historical Society, will take place at Beaumanor Hall, Woodhouse, LE12 8TX on Sunday 23 March 2014 from 10.00am - 4.00pm, entrance fee £5, children free, all day catering, and free stewarded parking.
Displays, stalls and mini-talks will follow the theme of 'Wartime Leicestershire' from the Roman Invasion to the present day. Featured will be Roman interactive displays, Richard III, The Wars of the Roses, the Civil War, the Napoleonic Wars, and of course both World Wars. Some displays will reflect on World War I in its centenary year, whilst Beaumanor as a World War II secret listening 'Y' Station will be celebrated with the demonstration of a genuine Enigma Machine. And an archaeology project to assist in the recovery of soldiers wounded in Afghanistan reflects the present day.
There will be sixteen 20-minute mini-talks, and advance booking online at www.lahs.org.uk is strongly advised. The Richard III talks will be given by Richard Buckley, lead archaeologist on the Richard III dig, who will invite his audience to view Beaumanor's Richard III bedroom built in 1848 by William Perry Herrick, especially to house the famous Richard III bed. In this 'Gothic' room Richard Buckley will show guests the 3D reconstruction of the Blue Boar Inn, where the last Plantagenet king is reputed to have slept the night before the Battle of Bosworth.
World renowned Enigma machine expert, Dr Mark Baldwin, will have his Enigma machine on display at the Fair and, during his intriguing three mini-talks about the most famous cypher machine in the world, members of the audience will have a chance to try out the machine for themselves. It is widely known that the success of the WW2 Bletchley Park codebreakers hastened victory in 1945, but not everyone realizes that Beaumanor's secret listening station also played a vital role.
Leicestershire' Charnwood Forest was also home to a highly secret WW2 operation. In a field in the parish of Charley, men in the RAF 80 Wing (Signals) Unit operated hidden jamming transmitters that were able to 'bend' the German Luftwaffe bombers target-finding beams, and as a result many significant military equipment factories were spared from destruction. At the Beaumanor Fair displays and a mini-talk on the 'Charley Beambenders' will reveal all.
The Defence Archaeology Group was founded in 2012 to utilise both the technical and social aspects of field archaeology in the recovery and skill development of soldiers injured in the conflict in Afghanistan. There is a close correlation between the skills required by the modern soldier and those of the professional archaeologist, and Surgeon Commodore Dr Peter Buxton's display and mini-talk on the DAG will bring the History Fair's programme right up to the present day.
Other 'wartime' activities will include live music and reading presentations with tunes from both World Wars; an Air Raid Experience in Beaumanor's cellars; outdoor tours to the 'Y' Station huts; exhibitors in period costumes; and many local history group stalls presenting their own 'wartime' topics. There will be the usual link-up with Quorn Steam Railway Station, itself themed as WW2 complete with NAAFI tearoom, and veteran buses will transport visitors between the two venues. For timetable and train fares with great History Fair discounts see www.gcrailway.co.uk
Why not book the date now, reserve your mini-talk tickets online, and come to Beaumanor for an enjoyable and informative day out? For further details, pick up a leaflet in your local library, or go online at www.lahs.org.uk
Image: Mark Baldwin with Enigma machine