We had a meeting with Janet Owen, CEO of the Hampshire Cultural Trust, on the 16th January at their office in Basingstoke.

Present were Sharon Elliott, David Lister, Ron Rietdyk and Peter Ormrod. Janet expressed enthusiasm for the festival and has agreed to be a partner in the project.

Programme and Funding Plan

Scope of events

So far, we have identified these key elements for the 2019 Festival . All suggestions are welcome.


The production of an early 1900’s choral work based on CK’s poem Andromeda. This substantial composition will be performed by the combined choral societies and orchestras of Eversley schools, Yateley school and Wellington College. This will be the first time the work has been performed in over 100 years.

Hampshire country music of the mid-1800’s played by local musicians to recreate the demotic sounds of the age.


The academic study of CK, his writing and his engagement with Victorian politics, religion and social reform, has experienced considerable growth in recent years. Students of CK will be invited to give a range of talks during the festival.


The Water-Babies provides a rich seam of dramatic and theatrical material for local schools to engage in. They will be invited to contribute ideas and draw up plans of how to involve their children in creative expression of CK’s most famous work.

Child protection

The Water-Babies has been cited as influential in the passing of the 1864 Chimney Sweepers Act. Although ineffectual, it was an example of Charles Kingsley’s concern for child welfare. We have contacted the NSPCC who are keen to provide a speaker to give a talk on the historical development of child protection; linking Charles Kingsley and other Victorian philanthropists to the present day.



There is an ambition expressed by several supporters of the Festival to create a legacy of this event in the form of a museum or centre, however modest, to ensure a permanent resource in the village for students and visitors of Charles Kingsley’s life and work.


Funding for the festival will draw on public funds, national, regional and local as well as support from local and national business. A fund-raiser will be appointed to oversee this process.

In addition, subscription to the events and activities will generate a return on investment.

The local economy should benefit from attendance but more broadly the festival will highlight north Hampshire’s value as a tourist destination with its combination of rural appeal and communication with urban centres. The potential for an economic uplift due to increased visitors to the area is one of the reasons why Hampshire County Council wishes to support us.

Peter Ormrod