From Winchester to Barchester: Anthony Trollope’s links with Hampshire

Anthony Trollope was one of the most popular authors of the 19th century, and his novels, including the Barchester and Palliser series, continue to attract new fans. This talk will explore Anthony Trollope’s links with Hampshire including family connections with Heckfield and Winchester, and some Hampshire locations that may have inspired places in Barchester.

The event also marks the 150th anniversary in 2021 of the publication of Ralph the Heir, much of which is undisguisedly set in northern Hampshire.

This is an online talk using Zoom. Participants will be required to download and use Zoom.

Previous knowledge/experience required: All you need to attend a talk on Zoom is some basic computer skills and experience in using the internet. Don’t worry if you have not used it before as we will send you some basic guidance when you book.

Book your tickets

Join Hampshire Record Office for this fantastic talk on Monday 27 September at 6pm. Tickets are just £5 and can be booked by clicking the ‘Book Now’ image.

Barchester Towers, which was published in 1857, as the sequel to The Warden wryly chronicles the struggle for control of the English diocese of Barchester. It opens with the Bishop of Barchester lying on his death bed; soon a battle begins over who will take over power, with key players including the rather incompetent Dr Proudie, his fiendishly unpleasant wife and his slippery curate, Slope. This is a wonderfully rich novel, in which men and women are too shy to tell each other of their love; misunderstandings abound; and Church of England officials are only too willing to undermine each other in the battle for power.

The only autobiography by a major Victorian novelist, Trollope’s account offers a fascinating insight into his literary life and opinions. After a miserable childhood and misspent youth, Trollope turned his life around at the age of twenty-six. By 1860 the ‘hobbledehoy’ had become both a senior civil servant and a best-selling novelist. He worked for the Post Office for many years and stood unsuccessfully for Parliament. Best-known for the two series of novels grouped loosely around the clerical and political professions, the Barsetshire and Palliser series, in his Autobiography Trollope frankly describes his writing habits. His apparent preoccupation with contracts, deadlines, and earnings, and his account of the remorseless regularity with which he produced his daily quota of words, has divided opinion ever since.

Winchester offers a veritable feast of history, much of it unrecognised by twenty-first century visitors. This history of the Saxon capital of Wessex is told through evocative photographs of its buildings and intricate nooks and crannies. Brought to life with intriguing accounts are: St Catherine’s Hill, the site of a hill fort in 150 BC; the Peninsula Barracks, once a military establishment and now home to a range of museums; Winchester College, built in 1352, and its fourteenth-century gothic chapel; Winchester Cathedral, parts of which date from 1079; the resting place of novelist Jane Austen; the working water mill, still on its original medieval site; and King Arthur’s Round Table. Featuring a map showing points of interest, this is a must-read for locals and visitors alike.

To reserve ‘Heckfield: A Village History’ by Gordon Timmins, click here:

To reserve ‘History of a Hampshire Parish – Heckfield and Mattingley:

What on earth could be more luxurious than a sofa, a book, and a cup of coffee?…Was ever anything so civil?”

Anthony Trollope

Events during Libraries Week

7 – 13 October 2019

Events at Winchester Discovery Centre

Vesper Sky concert of poetry and songs – Stewart & Carol Henderson and Yvonne Lyon Thursday 10 October, 7.30pm. Tickets: £10 in advance/ £12 on the night.

Vesper Sky is a stunning and unique collection of songs and poems, written and performed by poet, broadcaster and songwriter Stewart Henderson, renowned Scottish singer songwriter Yvonne Lyon and storyteller and broadcaster Carol Henderson. The songs and poems cover a wide-range of contemporary topics and tempos and the event is an engrossing and plaintive ‘journal of our times’. An inspirational evening not to be missed.

Book your tickets here.

Winchester Poetry Day: Close Encounters with Poets and Other Animals. Saturday 12th October, all day

Join us for a stimulating day of poetry readings, discussions, prize givings and workshops at the Winchester Discovery Centre. Tickets for some events are free, but booking is still recommended. We look forward to seeing you!

Events including:

Dramatising the Animal Encounter in Poetry. A poetry workshop with Elisabeth Sennitt Clough10:30am – 12:30pm. Tickets: £24

Transform your everyday encounters with animals: bats, badgers, foxes, horses etc into poems with agency. Drawing on the toolkit of the dramatist, we’ll explore ways in which we can push our poems far beyond a flat recalling of events.

My Favourite Poem: A short talk by Jon Sayers, 12:40pm – 1:05pm. Free (but tickets should be booked)

Short talks about favourite poems have proved a popular and engaging feature of Winchester Poetry Festival. In this session, poet Jon Sayers will explore Sharon Olds’s powerful poem ‘After 37 Years My Mother Apologizes for My Childhood’ and discuss what it means to him.

Loose Muse Showcase1:15pm– 2:15pm. Tickets: £6 / Students £3

Organised and presented by poet Sue Wrinch, Loose Muse Winchester has been running for four years. In this event, several of the regular open mic poets will present their work.

Winchester Poetry Prize: Announcement and Reading of the Winning Poems. Judge Helen Mort announces 2019 winners2:30pm – 3:30pm Free (but tickets should be booked)

Now in its fourth year, Winchester Poetry Prize has gone from strength to strength, attracting thousands of entries. Come along and hear the winning poems. There’s also a prize for the best poem by a Hampshire-based poet.

Meet the Artistic Directors: Sasha Dugdale & Sarah Hesketh – 4:45pm – 5:15pm. Free (but tickets should be booked)

The festival’s artistic co-directors, Sasha Dugdale and Sarah Hesketh, discuss how their plans are shaping up for the 2020 festival and share poems from the confirmed poets for next year’s festival.

Early Evening Reading: With Helen Mort & Elisabeth Sennitt Clough. 5:30pm – 6:30pm Tickets: £12 / Students £6

Our Winchester Poetry Day Poets, Helen Mort and Elisabeth Sennitt Clough, will introduce us to some of their own latest work, including some where the ink is still wet.

Poetry Café: Open mic poetry reading6:45pm– 8:00pm. Tickets: £6 / Students £3

Join us for an open mic session to hear local poets. Places for poets are limited so if you’d like to read, please reserve a slot by emailing

Autumn Dance Party, Saturday 12th October 2019, 7.30pm, Tickets: £12

Bring some Sunshine into this Autumn with a Dance Party filled with all the Dancing Fun you could wish for! Join Silvia & DJ Max for Salsa, West Coast Swing, Party Group Dances, Jive, Cha Cha, Rumba, Tango, Bachata, Merengue, Kizomba, Club Classics and more! Whether you have been dancing for years or are a novice – we’ll get everyone dancing! Licensed Bar open all night! Music with DJ Max!

Book your tickets at Winchester Discovery Centre.

Events around Hampshire

Lovecraft After Dark at Gosport Discovery Centre

Victorian Theatre with Bite! 8 October 2019. 7:30pm to 10:30am. Tickets: £10.

Allow the cosmic horror of Howard Philip Lovecraft to envelop your senses and blast your imagination! At any moment, the terrors of the Ancient Ones may be unleashed upon the world. The Elder Gods scrutinise our every deed, awaiting their opportunity to reclaim what was once theirs. Madness will be a blessing to those mere mortals who witness the crawling chaos soon to be released upon mankind!

Book your tickets here.

Thomas Forrester (previously Thomas Plant) at Andover Library

Join antiques expert and TV personality for an entertaining talk. 9 October 2019. 10am to 11am. Tickets: £7.50.

An entertaining talk about antiques with British TV personality Thomas Forrester.  (Previously known as Thomas Plant) Do you have treasures hiding in your home, gathering dust that you knew nothing about? Ticket holders may bring an item they would like to learn more about.

Thomas has appeared on TV shows such as Bargain Hunt, Flog it! and Antiques Road Trip.  He is co-owner of Special Auction Services in Newbury and when he is not busy with clients, Thomas fundraises for the Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice.

Book your tickets here.

Strictly Sherlock at Totton Library

Victorian Theatre with Bite! 10 October 2019. 7pm to 10pm.

Join the king of the detectives as he brings to life startling cases in this theatre production by Don’t Go into the Cellar.

The greatest fictional sleuth of all time springs back to life in these stirring adaptations of the Conan Doyle Classics. A high-energy on-man show, featuring a plethora of dashing heroes, villainous rogues and vintage thrills!

There are moments when you could swear you were watching Jeremy Brett or Roger Llewellyn, but this impressive interpretation of Holmes is very much Jonathan Goodwin’s own – not really surprising as Mr Goodwin is also responsible for the witty, suspenseful scripts.”  Roger Johnson, BSI, Editor: The Sherlock Holmes Journal

Book your tickets here.

Claire Tomalin Coming to Winchester

Acclaimed biographer Claire Tomalin is coming to Winchester for an evening talk in January, in celebration of her brand new book ‘A Life of My Own’. Winchester Guildhall welcomes the writer for an evening in conversation with John Miller, in aid of local charity Home Start Winchester.

Claire is an expert at exploring the life and times of great writers, this time she will be discussing her own experiences and the extraordinary career that has lead her to write biographies of the likes of Charles Dickens, Jane Austen and Thomas Hardy.

Charles Dickens : a life / Claire Tomalin
Claire Tomalin paints an unforgettable portrait of Dickens, capturing brilliantly the complex character of this great genius.

The Invisible Woman: the story of Nelly Ternan and Charles Dickens / Claire Tomalin.
Claire Tomalin’s story of the life of Nelly Ternan and Charles Dickens returns the neglected actress to her rightful place in history as well as providing a compelling and truthful portrait of the great Victorian novelist.

Claire’s various works are all available on the library catalogue, including several in eBook format:

Jane Austen: A Life by Claire Tomalin
The unequalled self is the astonishing biography of Samuel Pepys by bestselling author Claire Tomalin

Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self by Claire Tomalin
The unequalled self is the astonishing biography of Samuel Pepys by bestselling author Claire Tomalin


As one of the best biographers of her generation, Tomalin has written about great novelists and poets to huge success: now, she turns to look at her own life in her latest work ‘A Life of My Own‘, providing insights into her biographical writing.

A life of my own / Claire Tomalin
This enthralling memoir follows her through triumph and tragedy in about equal measure, from the disastrous marriage of her parents and the often difficult wartime childhood that followed, to her own marriage to the brilliant young journalist Nicholas Tomalin.


As an experienced speaker, academic and broadcaster, as well as an organiser of exhibitions and many public events, the talk promises to be fascinating. Her previous visits to Winchester were all sellouts, so early booking is advised for all those eager to hear one of our great writers talking about her eventful life. The talk will be followed by a book signing.

The event begins at 6:00pm on Saturday 13th January 2018 at The Guildhall Winchester. Tickets are £12 each including the booking fee, and are available online or call 01962 851177.

10 Years of Winchester Discovery Centre: A Celebration

The final weekend of November saw the celebration of Winchester Discovery Centre‘s 10th anniversary, a weekend bursting with activity and an opportunity to reflect on the 10 years since Winchester Library was refurbished and reopened to huge success.

On Tuesday 27th November 2007, Winchester Discovery Centre staff opened their doors for the first time. Five million visitors, three million book loans and thousands of events, workshops and exhibitions later, the Centre is a library reinvented and so much more besides. The staff involved in the planning, renovating, opening and running of the building ever since were well deserving in their day of congratulations.

The weekend began with a variety open day, showcasing some of the best attractions that the building offers. From book groups to dance troupes, the Winchester Discovery Centre has been at the heart of the local community, and the staff were proud to be part of a day packed with fun and fascination.

As with all Hampshire Libraries, the Discovery Centre loves to support community projects, and we welcomed some of the friends and organisations that we have worked with over the years including (for details of these partners see the end of this blog):

Hampshire Cultural Trust showcasing the dozens of exhibitions displayed within the Discovery Centre’s two galleries during those 10 years as part of an on-going partnership.
Winchester Science Centre providing interaction with with some crazy experiments!
– Artist Alice Kettle, with some fascinating talks and workshops.
– Popular children’s author Richard Hardie reading stories in the children’s library.
Art Talk, running FREE family craft workshops
– World record challenging roboticist James Bruton, who brought his electric Lego skateboard!
– The Winchester Fusion Choir singing us a happy birthday and performing a few favourites!
– Local partners such as Winchester Churches Nightshelter, Winchester Action on Climate Change and Pillars of Parenting and the Hampshire Library Home Library Service with information stands to raise awareness of their important work. The Home Library Service volunteers have been working with the library staff, supplying reads to immobile residents to support their love of reading.
King Alfred Buses with a vintage bus parked on our terrace!
– The Speaking Volumes and Crime Reading library book groups.
– The Winchester Chamber Orchestra super musicians as part of a string quartet.
– A raffle, entered by loaning 2 items from the library, with brilliant prizes from local business and partners.

Moving on to Monday 27th November, individuals and organisations instrumental in the Centre’s development were welcomed back for an official ceremony, acknowledging the huge success of the building since it’s refurbishment and the role of the building moving forward.

Above, left to right: Isabella Creagh, Competition Winner; WDC10 birthday cake; artist Alice Kettle with Carmel Gillies; Cllr Roy Perry

The arriving delegates in the Performance Hall were greeted by the Friends of Winchester Chamber Orchestra’s beautiful classical melodies, while a range of partners and events organisers were on display around the room. The guests were then offered guided tours of the building, providing a sense of all the diverse features the Centre offers.

Back in the hall, our Head of Libraries and Registration Services Sara Teers opened the ceremony, introducing The County Council’s Executive Member for Culture, Recreation and Countryside, Councillor Andrew Gibson. His speech congratulated the building on all its successes:

“Winchester Discovery Centre was one of our first libraries where we blended strong library traditions with modern facilities such as a performance hall, art gallery and café to transform it into a real community hub.
“A key part of this success is down to the award-winning redesign by our in-house Property Services team, establishing the Discovery Centre as a versatile space and flagship venue. The popularity of the Discovery Centre is far greater than we’d dared to imagine – welcoming visitors of all ages for reading, learning, family activities and cultural events.
“My thanks go to all of our visitors, dedicated staff and volunteers who have contributed to its success – here’s to the next ten years.”

The Leader of the Council, Cllr Roy Perry, then presented a gift made by local artist Alice Kettle to Carmel Gillies, wife of the late architect Alec Gillies who was a prominent designer of the building. Cllr Gibson then returmed to present the winner of the Discovery Centre’s Christmas Card Competition, Isabella Creagh (pictured above & below on the far left). The WDC10 cake was then cut by Isabella as the ceremony came to a close.

Above: Dignitaries from left to right: Isabella Creagh, Cllr Andrew Gibson, Carmel Gillies, Alice Kettle, Cllr Roy Perry.

In the ‘Celebration of 10 Years’  stop-motion footage that played behind the podium throughout, it proudly declared the 500,000 people per year that have passed through the Discovery Centre’s doors in every one of those 10 successful years. What a way to welcome some of those people back over the weekend, and acknowledge those that began the Centre’s journey throughout that time. We now anticipate more successes in the next 10 years!

Associated partners and organisations:

Hampshire Cultural Trust
Winchester Science Centre
Winchester Community First
Alice Kettle
Richard Hardie
Art Talk, running FREE family craft workshops
James Bruton
Winchester Fusion Choir
Winchester Churches Nightshelter
Winchester Action on Climate Change
Pillars of Parenting
Home Library Service
King Alfred Buses
Speaking Volumes and Crime Reading library book groups
Winchester Chamber Orchestra

Raffle sponsors:

  • Porterhouse Steakhouse
  • Wilds Sports
  • Sarah Bennett hair products
  • Arcana Hair
  • Koh Thai Winchester
  • The Consortium
  • Brasserie Blanc
  • Theatre Royal Winchester
  • Greens Wine Bar
  • Dim T Winchester


The Whole day through by Patrick Gale

About the book

It’s a day in the life of a 40-something woman. She has recently been obliged to move in with her elderly mother because the latter is a committed, lifelong, naturist who no conventional care home would admit.

Reviewed by Thursday Reading Group

A beautiful read, good characterisation and good topics.

Star rating: ****

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