On & Around the Street


Chelsea History Festival 2020

In a truly historic year, the second edition of the Chelsea History Festival will bring the neighbourhood’s fascinating past to life through a series of talks, tours and events, both physical and digital.

From Nazis-on-the-run to ancient trees, the mysteries of mushrooms and a pertinent look at the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic, this year’s immersive programme promises a captivating miscellany entertaining and inspiring events.

In response to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the Chelsea History Festival’s website will host a range of digital content, including short films that will provide a glimpse into the hidden histories of one of the most historic and beautiful areas in London. Expect treats like insights from Paul Wood, Chelsea’s resident tree guru, who will expound on the ancient and unique trees of Chelsea, and there will be exclusive behind-the-scenes tours of iconic Chelsea institutions, including the Chelsea Physic Garden.

Beginning Thursday 17 September, the festival’s co-founders – the National Army Museum, Royal Hospital Chelsea and Chelsea Physic Garden – will host a diverse line-up of talks from world-class speakers, authors, thinkers and historians.

Highlights include Michael Morpurgo, former Children’s Laureate and author of “War Horse”, on his lockdown experience and translating war into fiction for children and adults; professor Olivette Otele will illuminate the fascinating history of Africans in Europe, ahead of the publication of her groundbreaking new book, “African Europeans”; and Hallie Rubenhold, who won the 2019 Baillie Gifford Prize for non-fiction for “The Five”, will shed light on the lives of the five women killed by Jack the Ripper.

For children, Martin Brown, illustrator of the bestselling “Horrible Histories” books, will transport eager young minds back in time with his collection of intriguing and gruesome facts and conduct a quick-fire drawing session. Book tickets here.

The Chelsea Physic Garden will be opening its doors free of charge exclusively for the weekend of the festival (September 26-27). Book a ticket to discover around 5,000 different medicinal, herbal, edible and useful plants at the oldest botanic garden in London.

For further details on the full schedule and to book tickets (from £0 to £15), visit chelseahistoryfestival.com.