If History is your passion there was only one place to be this week: the Chalke Valley History Festival. The Challoner’s History Team took a group of students to Wiltshire to take part in this celebration of everything history related. After an early start and a long drive passing by Stonehenge, we finally arrived in time for the first talk.

The day was broken up into five 40-minute slots, with a choice of possible talks on different subjects for each slot. First for Year 10 was James Holland on the Cold War, a critical part of their Year 11 syllabus. For the Year 12s, a thoroughly detailed lecture from Sarah Gristwood on ‘The women who made 16th century Europe’. This included a question from our own Mr Buckland as to whether the role of women in the monarchy filtered into other aspects of 16th century life - it did not.

The most popular talk in the next slot was Southampton’s Chris Fuller on US foreign policy after the Cold War. This combined economics and politics and of course history into a very engaging talk. Towards the end he contemplated the two ways of viewing history: as a an evolving timeline of events on course for an end point or as a cycle repeating itself.

Next was a sobering talk from Miroslaw Obstarczyk, a man with a vast knowledge of Auschwitz and who was in the UK for the first time ever, just to talk to us. It hit us all hard and got us thinking.

After a brief lunch break, the history resumed with a talk from Mr Buchanan’s lookalike (and idol) Dan Snow. Dan talked about the importance of history to our lives, the world, and the course of the human race, and even had time for questions such as, ‘What is the most important historical event ever?’ - the answer was when farming came about.

The final talk was one critical to Year 12: the Russian Revolution, subject of next year’s coursework. It was conducted by Helen Rappaport, a true expert in the subject. She gave a summary of the events that sparked the revolution and the February and October uprisings. After another probing question from Mr Buckland, it was time to go home.

Thank you to the History Team for organising a great visit.