Launching Heritage Open Days 2020

7th September 2020

In any other year, as the boys return from their summer holidays, and the signs of autumn start to appear, the school would also be preparing to welcome hundreds of visitors as part of the annual Heritage Open Days festival.  This national event celebrates our history, cultural heritage and architecture, and Winchester College is proud to be the lead sponsor once again. However, like so many things this year, the 2020 celebrations will be a little different. 

For this year’s festival Winchester College looks forward to welcoming virtual visitors from all over the world to take a glimpse behind closed doors from the comfort of their own home, or wherever they can find a wifi connection. Two new films and a special podcast have been created exclusively for Heritage Open Days 2020, to share some of the treasures and stories of this historic place, and are available via the links below and on our YouTube channel from Friday 11th to Sunday 20th September 2020.  

Inside the Fellows’ Library: Exploring the Rare Books of Winchester College

The Warden and Fellows of Winchester College established a library at the beginning of the 15th century, which now contains more than ten thousand volumes, from medieval manuscripts to contemporary artists' books.  This film explores the historic importance of the Fellows’ Library as a collection. Led by Fellows Librarian, Dr Richard Foster and Assistant Curator, Dr Sarah Griffin, the film focuses on the stories and rarity of individual books and their national significance, whilst taking in the beautiful rooms and buildings that house them.

Hidden Winchester: Discovering the History, Art and Architecture of Winchester College

This video tour explores the hidden corners of the oldest continuously running public school in England, with spectacular views from its towers and rooftops.  Presented by Head of Art History, Adam Rattray, this is a rare opportunity to take in stunning panoramas across the city and delve into the heart of the school. The film follows the footsteps of George Mallory around the school, who was at Winchester between 1900 and 1904.  Mallory was a founding member of the Winchester Ice Club, which climbed all the roofs at Winchester.  Mallory subsequently made three attempts to summit Everest, where in 1924 he would perish on its topmost slopes.


Hidden Pages, Hidden Nature: A Book of Hours Revealed 

This special podcast explores a book of hours: an extraordinary and very beautiful medieval illuminated prayer book. Dr Sarah Griffin is joined by the Rev'd Canon Dr Roland Riem of Winchester Cathedral, and church art specialist Sophie Hacker, to explore the Christian Book of Prayers, its shifting purpose throughout history, and how the intricate and colourful pages were made. They also discuss the meaning of the strange religious art, and the question of whether a chicken with a dragon’s body is simply that, or whether the artists had something deeper in mind.

This podcast has been produced in partnership with Winchester Heritage Open Days, as part of the school's sponsorship of the city's festival.

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