Gilbert White Birthday Festival

July 18, 2020
11:00 am

Saturday 18th July is Gilbert White’s birthday – he’ll be 300 years old! To mark the occasion the Gilbert White Museum is hosting an on-line festival, where I’ll be speaking on Gilbert White – New Nature Writer. The day begins at 9 am and finishes at 8 pm, and I’m on at 11 am for a talk followed by Q&A on Twitter. Join us for this free event on YouTube.

9:00 Discovering the Moths of Selborne

Moth expert and volunteer at Gilbert White & The Oates Collections Chris Piper opens last night’s moth trap and takes us through what he’s found!

9:15 Introduction 

Philip Geddes, Trustee of Gilbert White & The Oates Collections, welcomes you to the festival.

9:45 ZigZag

Alton Fringe Theatre introduces a trailer for a new play based on the life and writings of Gilbert White.

10:00 House Tour 

Collections Manager Kimberley James takes you on a tour of Gilbert White’s House and shows you some gems not normally on display!  Followed by a Q&A on Twitter! 

10:45 Happy Birthday from Selborne School.

The children of Selborne C of E School have created art to celebrate Gilbert White’s birthday whilst in Lockdown.

11:00 Gilbert White-New Nature Writer

Writer and conservationist Laurence Rose explains why The Natural History of Selborne can seem so contemporary, by comparing Gilbert’s approach to observing and writing about nature with examples from more recent works. Laurence will be taking questions on Twitter afterwards! 

12:00 Molly White and the Cultural History of Selborne 

Louise Horton explores the remarkable life of the woman who helped research and edit Gilbert White’s book. By re-reading Molly White’s letters we’ll explore a new cultural history for Selborne and uncover how the faintest traces of her life in Georgian London became pressed into the pages of The Natural History of Selborne. Louise will be taking questions on Twitter afterwards! 

13:00 The Selborne Society 

Honourable Treasurer of The Selborne Society Sarah Hadland tells the tale of The Selborne Society from its creation in the 19th Century through till today, with it’s conservation work in Perivale Wood in London. Sarah will be answering questions via Zoom afterwards!

13:45 Happy Birthday Gilbert White 

Supporters and fans of Gilbert White wish him a very happy 300th birthday and tell us why he is so important today!

14:00 Garden Tour 

Our Gardener Keith Oakley takes you on a tour of Gilbert’s Garden.

15:00 Discovering Gilbert White’s Garden

David Standing who was head gardener at Gilbert White’s House for 37 years discusses the research he has done into Gilbert White’s garden and how that lead to the current layout of the garden today. David will join us on Zoom afterwards for questions.

16:00 Gilbert White an inspiration in CoVid Times

Mike Pratt is the CEO of the Northumberland Wildlife Trust.

17:00 Gilbert’s London

While Gilbert of course is best known for his studies of Selborne and the surrounding area, he made many visits to London. This talk will give a brief insight into where he visited, what he was doing there and how the city influenced his work and his publication. Steph West works in the Angela Marmont Centre for UK Biodiversity at the Natural History Museum in London. Gilbert has been hugely influential throughout her life as a natural historian, inspiring a love and interest in nature that has stayed with her from childhood into her career as an ecologist. Most recently she has been researching Gilberts connections to the city she both lives and works in. Steph will be answering questions via Zoom afterwards.

17:50 Hampshire Poet Laureate 

Kathryn Bevis, Hampshire Poet 2020, was commissioned by Winchester Poetry Festival and Hampshire Cultural Trust to write this poem in celebration of the 300th anniversary of Gilbert White’s birth.

18:00 A comparison of Gilbert White’s calendar of nature with modern records

Tim Sparks is from the Woodland Trust’s Natures Calendar program.

18:45 A Message from the Chair of Trustees 

Chair of Gilbert White & The Oates Collections Khalid Aziz sends a message to mark Gilbert White’s 300th anniversary.

19:00 Monty Halls 

TV’s Monty Halls talks about the links between Gilbert White and Charles Darwin.

19:45 Farewell 

Museum directors Steve Green & Judith Bowles close the festival with a few words.