200th anniversary of The Water Babies’ author, Charles Kingsley

2019 marks the 200thanniversary of the birth of Charles Kingsley, author of The Water Babies, and organisers of ck200are planning to create a village festival in Eversley this summer that will engage the public in a celebration of Charles Kingsley’s life and work.

Located in northeast Hampshire, 10 miles from Basingstoke, Eversley’s most famous resident was one of the principal thinkers of his age, who achieved worldwide fame with his children’s fable The Water-Babies, first published in 1863.

By the time Kingsley died in January 1875, he had become one of the most prominent men in his age, deeply involved in the religious, scientific and social conflicts that exercised the minds of his contemporaries.

As a churchman, he rose to become chaplain to Queen Victoria and a canon of Westminster.  As a Christian Socialist, he founded three periodicals, headed many distinguished committees.  As a scientist, he became a Fellow of the Geological Society and a friend of Charles Darwin.  As a historian, he held the post of Regius Professor at Cambridge for nine years.

Not surprisingly, the rectory at Eversley became the epicentre of many of the burning issues of the day.  Yet it was for his books, rather than any of his other achievements, that he is best known – and The Water Babiesis one of the select handful of children’s classics from the last century, which is still available in over half a dozen editions today.

Back in 1919 a “Village Pageant” in Eversley marked the centenary year of Charles Kingsley in grand style; and a century later, the aim of ck200will be to offer its visitors an imaginative and edgy celebration of this nineteenth century dynamo.

Tickets and passes for ck200– Eversley’s big cultural andfun event on June 14 and 15 2019 – cover general admission to the festival, with free access to most events.  ‘Roam the festival’ passes are priced at £10, while ‘Tent Talks’ featuring (amongst others) Guardian columnist Giles Fraser and politician Frank Field, concerts, and other performances are priced separately from £5 to £15.

Full details can be found at https://ck200.live/shop/.

For full details of Hampshire’s rich literary heritage, visit https://www.visit-hampshire.co.uk/things-to-do/attractions/literary-heritage.

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