Saturday, July 25, 2009

Question from Tracey - Attendance of Henry VIII events this year

With all the hoopla surrounding Henry VIII this year in England, how many Englishpersons are actually participating in the festivities?

Do most events seem to be geared towards visitors, or are the ancestors of the people Henry ruled just as interested?

Has "The Tower" reported an increase in tourists since the focus has shifted to Hal? How about The British Library, the country homes which have scheduled events, or art/portrait galleries? Is Hampton Court inundated with lookie-loos?

All things Tudor seems to be overwhelming the U.S. so just wondered if all things Henry in England were driving the natives crazy (grin).

6 comments:

Joanna said...

Yes, visitor numbers have increased dramatically at Hampton Court (although thankfully, not look look-a-likes ;) and also at the Tower. Partially, this will be because of all the activities around the anniversaries, especially at the Palace where there is a massive publicity campaign, new exhibitions and all the rooms have been improved and newly interpreted on Henry's route. It is also however because the economic crisis has been very kind to tourism in this countr because natives are staying home for holidays and day outs, whereas the exchange rate (esp. the Euro and the dollar) have been in favour of foreigners coming here. Can't comment on the British Library but it appears to have been a success.

Kristian said...

Tracey -

I attended some of the events in honor of Henry's accession in England back in May (over a bank holiday.)
Although there were some English visitors at every venue, the majority at that time seemed to be tourists from outside the country. In speaking to locals (at pubs and my B&B in London, Kent, Sussex & Surrey), many knew of the planned events but had little interest. Although they always commented that they LOVE that Americans take such an interest.

There may have been an influx since the beginning of summer, but in May, Hampton Court was certainly not overrun. In fact, I often found myself wandering around alone when there wasn't a "re-enactment" taking place. (They are doing Henry's wedding to Kateryn Parr daily)

The museums were busy, as was the library and the Tower was packed on May 19th, but it was more for the anniversary of Anne Boleyn's execution than to see the Henry VIII exhibit "Dressed to Kill".

tudor fanatic said...

Kristian - I can well understand why there weren't many English people at the sights in May. I am English, and here in England there have been no publicity campaigns at all. I only found out about all the events from chance discoveries on museum websites. No-one's making a fuss of it at all here and I personally can't understand it! The only places that even seem to know about the events are the museums, and not even all of them are bothering to do anything. My local museum didn't even have leaflets about the events or anything!

Joanna said...

I don't think I agree with that Tudorfanatic, but it could be a matter of local geography.

Certainly in London I think it's got quite a heavy presence, with advertising everywhere for the British Library, Hampton Court and the Tower in particular. Obviously there may be a much quieter presence outside of that area.

I do think however, there have been plenty of other things happening, with at least two major radio programmes that I can think of, as well as several documentary series on Channel Four, BBC and the History Channel. No, they aren't going to advertise in the same way as, say, Eastenders but anyone in the know or seriously interested in the history knows what year it is or would look online for activities.

Thanks to people like Lara having sites like this one, which help to coordinate knowledge of events. Unfortunately, with someone like Henry, there are too many people and places to coordinate one big central extravaganza and limit events to purely that (and that's actually a very good thing) so in the meantime, it's up to the individual to use their commonsense and research things. It's certainly not been forgotten, if anything I'm having Henry overload at the moment.

Kathy from on here recently planned a very extensive trip over from the States, so I'm sure if natives really want to, it wouldn't be hard to find something to commemorate the events.

tudor fanatic said...

It probaly does depend where you live to be honest, but as I live up near to the north of England I am quite far away from London. Our area isn't bothering to do anything anyway; but I suppose I should just blame that on the local council!

Elizabeth Barwick said...

I don't know about everywhere, but there isn't much said about the events here in the US. I am an avid Tudor fan (I even have a website about it-everythingtudor.com) but I made a special trip to England and tried to attend as many Henry VIII events as I could. I really enjoyed it, and they all seemed to be pretty packed with people (most of them English).