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Hampshire HistBites

History Podcasts

A brilliant history and heritage podcast created by the volunteers behind Winchester Heritage Open Days. Your opportunity to delve into the past and go on a journey to discover some of Hampshire's best, and occasionally unknown, history. Since season one begin August 2020 we've been speaking to experts and enthusiasts and asking them to reveal some of our hidden heritage as well as share with you fascinating untold tales.

A brilliant history and heritage podcast created by the volunteers behind Winchester Heritage Open Days. Your opportunity to delve into the past and go on a journey to discover some of Hampshire's best, and occasionally unknown, history. Since season one begin August 2020 we've been speaking to experts and enthusiasts and asking them to reveal some of our hidden heritage as well as share with you fascinating untold tales.


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A brilliant history and heritage podcast created by the volunteers behind Winchester Heritage Open Days. Your opportunity to delve into the past and go on a journey to discover some of Hampshire's best, and occasionally unknown, history. Since season one begin August 2020 we've been speaking to experts and enthusiasts and asking them to reveal some of our hidden heritage as well as share with you fascinating untold tales.






A Window Through Time: Florence Nightingale’s Hampshire Roots and Legacy

May 12th is International Nurses’ Day and in this podcast we celebrate the life of one of Hampshire’s most influential Victorians, the nurse and campaigner Florence Nightingale. From her home at Embley Park near Romsey, she set off for the Crimean War where she introduced pioneering hygiene measures that saved countless lives and established a template for modern nursing. Her ‘Wash your Hands’ message has never been more relevant. Julie Dypdal talks to local artist Sophie Hacker about the...


Creatures and Kings: A Viking Tale’s Link With Winchester

Among the treasures on display in Winchester Cathedral is the ancient Sigmund Stone, excavated from the remains of the Saxon cathedral on the same site. Carved on this stone fragment is a scene from the Old Norse Volsunga Saga, a compendium of tales that provide a window into the treacherous and brutal Viking world. Aisha Al-Sadie, Learning Officer at the cathedral, takes us back to the time of wolves and forests, great feasts and bloody battles as she narrates a story of King Volsung and...


In Conversation With John Pilkington: Hampshire's Own Explorer and Travel Writer

Hampshire-based explorer John Pilkington continues his travelogue, recounting to Emily Briffett how a childhood love of maps led to his wanderings in far flung corners of the globe. Here he regales us with tales of tracing dinosaur footprints in Bolivia, witnessing the birth of post-Soviet Kyrgyzstan, getting stranded in Antarctica, tracking down Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and becoming the first European to visit the source of Mekong River. For more information, including show notes...


Whitchurch to China: A Six-Thousand Mile Silk Road Adventure

Inveterate traveller John Pilkington talks about following the trail of Marco Polo along the ancient Silk Road to China, where he discovers a surprising link between Suzhou, the Venice of the East, and Hampshire’s Whitchurch Silk Mill. Among the highlights of his travels, he tells Emily Briffett, are his travels among nomadic people in Afghanistan and traversing high mountain ranges between Pakistan and China along the Karakoram Highway. En route he meets many challenges, including offerings...


Discovering Hidden Treasures at St Swithun's

St Swithun’s archivist Elly Crookes talks to Julie Dypdal about the school’s eventful history and its fascinating archives-which include letters from Christina Rosetti and William Wilberforce. Educating girls wasn’t a priority in Victorian England but the pioneering founders of St Swithun’s School in Winchester helped to change that in Hampshire. By the end of the 19th century its female pupils were studying not just reading and writing but science, economics, engineering and money...


Echoes Through Time: Our Connection with People of the Past

What was life like for women in Emperor Nero’s court? This knotty issue is just one of the preoccupations of Carey Fleiner, senior lecturer in Classical and Early Medieval studies at the University of Winchester. In this episode Dr Fleiner talks to Ingrid Tofteng about Nero’s wives, Pompeii and the Vesuvius eruption of 1944-and how the influence of the Roman Empire has reached down through the centuries. Along the way we hear about Carey’s work behind the scenes at the British Museum and...


Winchester's Forgotten Second Railway Station

If you find yourself on St Giles Hill or walking along Chesil Street in Winchester, listen out for the ghostly whistle of a steam train or the clang of a signal bell. Here, at the foot of St Giles Hill, was Cheese Hill (later Chesil) Station, opened in 1885 as a stop on the ill-starred Didcot, Newbury and Southampton Railway line. From here Hampshire strawberries were carried to London, race horses to Newbury and thousands of troops to Southampton to embark on journeys to the Western Front,...


Hampshire Archives: Preserving the History of Today for Tomorrow

How will future generations regard the Covid-19 pandemic and the way it changed our lives? Here in Hampshire, Zoe Viney of Wessex Film & Sound Archive run by and based at Hampshire Record Office in Winchester is helping to create a record of local life in lockdown through the project Making History: Making Movies. In this latest episode she talks to Eleanor Andrews-Steele about her work curating historic film and invites us all to participate in the project by recording our personal...


Chalk Talk: Hampshire’s Prehistoric Ecosystem

Take a walk along the banks of the River Itchen and you enter a magical world where otters play, mayfly dart, brown trout slip through the weeds and water vole peer from burrows. Winchester has its very own Wind in the Willows habitat and Susan Simmonds of the Hampshire Wildlife Trust talks to Kyle Alexander about her work protecting and celebrating the county’s glorious chalk stream landscapes and where and when to spot the Itchen’s beguiling array of wildlife. Hampshire &Isle of Wight...


Rediscovering our Ancient and Traditional Heritage Crafts

Archeologist Alex Langlands, presenter of the BBC’s Victorian Farm series, talks to Charlotte Tindle about his book Cræft and how, over centuries, we humans have learnt to use the natural materials around us to practical ends, from whittling wood or spinning wool to smoking fish and meat. Working with nature can help us engage with our local landscape in a more meaningful way, as he has also recently revealed in his YouTube videos on the art of basket-making using wild hedgerow brambles. Do...


Reflecting on the HistBites journey, and our edible plans for 2021

HistBites is the brainchild of Nicky Gottlieb and Becky Brown, the festival directors of Winchester Heritage Open Days. In this specially commissioned episode they talk to Emma Cornell-Stoffer about their favourite podcasts so far, ranging from the colourful history of vintage King Alfred buses to the sometimes gory stories behind our popular sea shanties. More exciting podcasts are planned. Look out, they say, for episodes covering Hampshire chalk streams, Florence Nightingale and the...


In Plain Sight: The Treasures all Around Us!

Bored with #lockdown, looking for something to add interest to your day? Then join us for a conversation about the Twitter postbox challenge with this week's guest hosts, Madelaine and Catherine. During previous and current lockdown walks they have been noticing details that might normally be missed. For example, Catherine spotted various door knockers and Madelaine started photographing boot scrapers outside front doors. By photographing these items, they were able to spot differences and...


Creating stories and treading the boards with 2TimeTheatre

Join Cecily and Rachel as they share their passion for dramatising the stories of Hampshire's ‘unheard, unsung and unvisited’ 2TimeTheatre is a young and innovative Hampshire theatre company that works with local talent and tiny budgets to revitalise the work of long dead writers as well as producing brilliant original work telling the hidden stories of women. William Shakespeare, Jane Austen and Sir Walter Raleigh are among the host of characters with local connections whose Hampshire...


Continuing Our Quest to Discover Mary I's Connections to Winchester and Beyond

Welcome to part two of Johanna Strong’s episodes exploring Mary I’s life. In this one we discover Mary I’s connections to two English landmarks - Wolvesey Castle in Winchester, and Hampton Court Palace in Surrey. Both sites observed major moments in her life, namely marriage and expected childbirth. Content Warning - This episode contains a sensitive topic that some people may find uncomfortable. It concerns phantom pregnancies. If you wish to avoid this section, skip between 11:15 and...


Winchester and Westminster: How Did These Churches Forget Mary I?

The life of Mary I has deep connections with both Winchester Cathedral and Westminster Abbey. How was she forgotten by these churches? Johanna Strong uncovers the truth. This podcast looks at the ways in which Mary I, first crowned queen regnant of England, is remembered in Westminster Abbey – the site of her coronation and burial – and in Winchester Cathedral – the site of her marriage to Philip II of Spain. Mary’s presence is not physically easily evident in either church which is in...


Warfare in Winchester: Empress Matilda’s Last Stand

After Empress Matilda fails to gain the support of London and is chased out by its inhabitants, she journeys to Winchester and makes her camp there. Join Catherine Capel as she explores the events leading up to this moment and analyses the Empress’ decision to make the city her base of operations. In Winchester, arrows will fly, blades will clash, and blood will spill, but only one side will come out on top. For more information, including show notes and a transcript, please visit our...


A Modern Take on Historical Drinks 'for the bold and curious'!

One of our most popular events from the 2020 Winchester Open Days Festival was a live streamed event with Eoghan, founder of Proudfoot & Co. We were therefore delighted Eoghan met up with food historian and HistBites podcaster, Emma Cornell-Stoffer and discussed our British culinary heritage. In this wonderful podcast they explore the history of the British pantry, and take us into the fascinating and innovative world of foraging, fermenting and barrel-ageing. For more information,...


Handwritten Letters: Surviving the Digital Age

We’ve been handwriting letters for thousands of years, but in recent times it has become a lost art as many of us use emails and text messages instead. A loss for us and possibly also for future historians, as not only have letters often revealed intimate thoughts and details of life in the past, but they enable us to touch a piece of history. Emails are unlikely to do that, and text messages certainly won’t! So why not join Ellie as she talks to Dinah Johnson, founder of The Handwritten...


The Buried History of the Winchester Geese - Part Two

How do we remember the struggle of medieval sex workers? Lucy Coleman Talbot explains how the Winchester Cathedral keeps the memory of the Winchester Geese alive. Also discussed is the history of Crossbones Graveyard throughout the years and its link between modern and medieval sex work. The modern social issues around sex work have existed for centuries, discover how we can remember the Geese for a brighter future. For more information, including who the Winchester Geese were, details of...


The Buried History of the Winchester Geese - Part One

Did you know that from the 12th to 17th century Southwark in London was controlled by the Bishop of Winchester? Among other powers, the Bishop had the right to license and tax the borough’s prostitutes, they became known as the ‘Winchester Geese’. Lucy Coleman Talbot sheds light on the Bishops' involvement, as well as the suffering endured by medieval sex workers and how we know their story from a graveyard. For more information, including show notes and a transcription, please visit our...