ENGLISH Heritage is welcoming families to Stonehenge during the October half term next week to take part in an interactive, theatrical performance which will take families back one hundred years to the dramatic auction of 1915 where Stonehenge was put up for sale!
On September 21, 1915, the New Theatre in Salisbury’s Castle Street was packed out as London auctioneer, Sir Howard Frank, gazed down from his rostrum as he desperately tried to drum up interest among the assembled bidders for the country’s greatest prehistoric monument – with the ancient stones eventually being sold for just £6,000.
Last month English Heritage marked the 100th anniversary of Stonehenge – the most iconic prehistoric monument in Europe – being sold off one that historic auction to local Wiltshire man Cecil Chubb. The auction marked a turning point in the care of the ancient monument. A series of major restorations and excavations began a few years later and Stonehenge went from isolated ruin to national treasure. Today it is cared for by English Heritage, and thanks to extensive work now sits within a restored landscape that gives a sense of its original setting.
Now families are being invited to come and play their part and help bring the monumental historical moment to life in this centenary year, with this fun theatrical performance – specially developed for English Heritage by historical theatre company Time Will Tell who encourage audiences to learn about history by becoming active participants within their amusing and thought provoking theatre. The play is in two parts and is set to take place outside the visitor centre by the Neolithic Houses, every day of half term from Monday 26th October to Sunday 1st November, between 10am and 4pm.
As the custodian of over 400 historic monuments, buildings and sites throughout the country, English Heritage’s endeavours to bring the story of England to life for over 10 million visitors each year and it is hoped that the latest activities at Stonehenge next week will offer children a fun way of learning about one of the world’s most fascinating prehistoric monuments.
The Stonehenge exhibition and visitor centre will also be open to entertain the most inquisitive of minds and there is also the opportunity to pick up a family audio tour, explore our reconstructed Neolithic Houses and imagine what life would have been like for a Neolithic family four and a half thousand years ago!
For further information about the fun at Stonehenge and other events during the school half term and throughout autumn and winter visit the English Heritage website at www.english-heritage.org.uk
Jez Gale, Chief Archivist / / Heritage News
The Stonehenge Tourist Guide