Talks and Events

Guided walk: No matter how many skies have fallen: back to the land in wartime Britain

Date /Time: Sunday, 1 August, 2021, 10.30 – 1pm

Join a walk from Wivenhoe Station to Frating Hall Farm with writer and social historian, Ken Worpole, to mark the publication of his new book, No matter how many skies may fall: back to the land in wartime Britain. At the centre of this story is Frating Hall Farm, where in 1943 a group of radical pacifists took possession of the 300-acre farm, creating a self-sufficient community of up to 50 adults and children and a sanctuary for refugees and prisoners-of-war, which lasted for twelve years. Over time the farm traded successfully, but was also the centre of local cultural life, with choirs and drama productions touring local farm workhalls and churches, and at harvest time it welcomed dozens of volunteers and supporters who still remember a place of great energy and idealism. Ken’s new book recreates the life of this bold experiment, widening out into an enquiry into the passionate ideals of the back-to-the-land movement in wartime and post-war England.

Information & booking: Limited numbers, so booking is essential
Venue: Assemble Wivenhoe Station, 10.30 am.

Stour River Festival 2021

Talk & Guided Walk: A duty towards the land

Date /Time: Saturday, 14 August, 2021 2 – 4pm Old Hall

In his 1953 memoir, Community Farm, the writer and social idealist John Middleton Murry, wrote that 'work on the land is necessary to the life of man in a way no other work can be.' He was associated with a number of 'back to the land' projects on the Essex/Suffolk border in the 1930s and 1940s, initially at Langham near Dedham in the Stour Valley. In this illustrated talk, writer and social historian Ken Worpole will focus on post-war initiatives such the proliferation of Land Settlement Association small-holdings around Ardleigh, the foundation of Old Hall in East Bergholt, the Frating Hall Farm community, and other experiments in creating more sustainable forms of farming and human settlement as we face a challenging rural future.

Information & booking: further details and booking
Venue: Old Hall, East Bergholt Old Hall, Rectory Hill, East Bergholt, Colchester CO7 6TG



Book launch: No matter how many skies have fallen: back to the land in wartime Britain

No matter how many skies may fall book cover

Date /Time: Sunday, 1 August, 2021, 3pm – 4.30pm

Join Ken Worpole as he launches his new book in the remarkable Nottage Maritime Institute in Wivenhoe, Essex, organised by Wivenhoe Bookshop in partnership with the Essex Book Festival. Some of the original members of the Frating Hall Farm community will be joining Ken and willing to answer questions about this memorable experimental land settlement which continued from 1943 - 1954.

Information & booking:
Venue: The Nottage Institute, Wivenhoe, Essex