Keats in Winchester: exhibition and public talk

John Keats spent time in Winchester in 1819; his most productive year as a poet, working on 'Lamia', 'Otho the Great', and 'Hyperion'. “The air is worth sixpence a pint” he told a friend. He took regular walks in the water meadows, and wrote his beautiful ode “To Autumn” after walking to the Hospital of St Cross.  To mark the 200th anniversary, the school is hosting two free, public lectures as well as a new exhibition in the Treasury.

In early September we were fortunate to welcome Professor Sir Jonathan Bate the internationally renowned critic and broadcaster, and former Provost of Worcester College, Oxford to discuss Keats’ life and work, as well as one of his best known poems.

In the Treasury, a new exhibition about Keats and Winchester in the early 19th century will explore the influence of the city on Keats, and also some of the links between Keats and eighteenth century poets educated at Winchester College (particularly William Collins and Joseph Warton). Among the objects on display will be Keats’s ‘death mask’, on loan from Eton. The exhibition runs from 10th September to 20th December (2 - 4pm daily) and entry is free.  School groups should contact to book.

Marking the actual day of Keats' famous walk through the water meadows, Headmaster Dr Tim Hands will give a talk entitled 'Winchester Poet Power: The Path to Keats’ Autumn'  exploring the heritage that influenced Romanticism and made possible the writings of Keats, Coleridge, Wordworth, Austen and others.

The talk is at 7pm, Thursday 19th September in New Hall, Winchester College. Ticket holders will be able to view the Treasury exhibition for the hour preceeding the talk. Book tickets.

Heritage Open Days

September 2019 will mark the 25th year of the Heritage Open Days festival, with a ten-day programme of events nationally. 

Each year, local Winchester volunteers organise over 100 events to celebrate the city's history, architecture and cultural heritage, aiming to give the general public a glimpse of sites they may not be aware of or typically get a chance to see – all for free.

As principal sponsor of the Winchester Heritage Open Days festival, Winchester College will host various events, all of which are concentrated on the second weekend, which runs from Thursday 19th to Sunday 22nd September. Last year's events at the school proved hugely popular with more than 1,250 people visiting the College and more than 1,000 members of the public joining us in the Treasury museum alone.

This year’s programme includes:

  • Guided tours of the College.
  • Expert tours of the War Cloister, the Archives, the Fellows’ Library, and the Science Collections.
  • An Open Rehearsal with the Quiristers, a choral tradition dating back 600 years.
  • Access to the Treasury, the school's museum of art and archeology, including new trail for children.

In addition there will be four talks on offer:

  1. 'Winchester Poet Power: The Path to Keats’ Autumn' by Dr Tim Hands, Headmaster of Winchester College. (7pm, Thursday 19th September) Marking the actual day of Keats' famous walk, Dr Hands will give a talk on 'Winchester Poet Power: The Path to Keats’ Autumn' exploring the heritage that influenced Romanticism and made possible the writings of Keats, Coleridge, Wordworth, Austen and others. 
  2. 'Shifting sands in news coverage' by Alastair Stewart, ITV News journalist and presenter. (7pm, Friday 20th September)

  3. 'A tale of two royal charters' by Professor Simon Keynes of Cambridge University, one of the world’s leading experts on Alfred the Great. (3pm, Saturday 21st September)

  4. 'The Black Death' by Professor Mark Bailey, High Master of St Paul's School. (5pm, Sunday 22nd September)

For more information and tickets , visit Heritage Open Days  

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