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October's historic trips... Ten things to do

Get out and about with our guide to the very best historical attractions this October.

Published: October 1, 2010 at 8:30 am
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Alongside the upheaval caused by both world wars, the period between 1914 and 1945 witnessed fundamental changes in British art and culture, partly as a result of the influx of displaced people flocking to the country from all over Europe. This exhibition brings together a range of works from the time, depicting the devastating impact of war, as well as the way that new ideas and technologies were embraced by artists such as Evelyn Dunbar, David Bomberg and John Nash.


Exhibition: Restless Times – Art in Britain 1914–1945
Millennium Gallery, Sheffield

6 October–30 January 2011
0114 278 2600

Get well-versed in Sassoon

Siegfried Sassoon was one of the most famous poets and chroniclers of the First World War and now you can glimpse some of his private thoughts and emotions through the journals and poems on display in this exhibition. Highlights on show include Sassoon’s journals from the trenches, manuscripts, letters and drawings, as well as the famous statement written in 1917, in which he protests about the continuation of the war.

Exhibition: Dream Voices – Siegfried Sassoon, Memory and War
Cambridge University Library, Cambridge

Until 23 December 2010 

Look to the skies

Celebrate the 65th birthday of Sally B, the B-17 ‘Flying Fortress’, at Duxford’s Autumn Air Show. Europe’s last remaining airworthy B-17, Sally B will leave her static display at the museum and take to the skies once more to entertain the crowds below. There will also be displays by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Supermarine Spitfire and the Black Cats – the Royal Navy’s helicopter display team – along with a host of activities taking place on the ground.

Event: Autumn Air Show
Imperial War Museum Duxford, Cambridgeshire

10 October
01223 835 000 

Explore Tahiti with Gauguin

The first major UK exhibition in 50 years of the works of the French Post-Impressionist artist Gauguin goes on display this month, featuring paintings and drawings from around the world. The exhibition aims to explore the myths surrounding the man, from his reputation as a global traveller to the religious and mythical symbols depicted in his work. Many of Gauguin’s iconic paintings are on display, some inspired by the landscape of Tahiti and his travels.

Exhibition: Gauguin
Tate Modern, London

30 September–16 January 2011
020 7887 8888

Return to Roman Britain

Celebrate the Roman Society’s centenary and the 1,600th anniversary of the end of Roman rule with a two-day conference exploring whether its finish meant the abandonment of Roman culture in the fifth century. Experts at the forefront of current research will host sessions ranging from the survival of town life to the transition to Christianity, as well as coinage, pottery and inscriptions. Members of the audience will also be able to put their burning questions to a panel of experts.
To find out more about the Romans’ departure from Britain, turn to our feature on page 24 of this month's issue.

Event: Emperors, Usurpers, Tyrants – The History and Archaeology of Western Britain from AD 350 to 500
Cardiff School of History, Archaeology and Religion, Cardiff

30–31 October
029 208 70505

Enjoy Venice with Canaletto

In a landmark exhibition, The National Gallery has brought together around 50 major loans presenting an assembly of Venetian views by Canaletto and a number of his 18th-century rivals. Works by the artist’s nephew, Bernardo Bellotto, as well as Francesco Guardi and
Michele Marieschi, feature alongside some of Canaletto’s finest masterpieces, including The Riva degli Schiavoni, Looking West. A real treat for lovers of Italian art.

Exhibition: Venice – Canaletto and His Rivals
The National Gallery, London

13 October–16 January 2011
020 7747 2885

See the light in Scotland

The world’s oldest surviving rock lighthouse, Bell Rock near Arbroath, was lit 200 years ago. To celebrate, the National Museum of Scotland is telling the story of the lifesaving monuments, from the Egyptian Pharos lighthouse of Alexandria to the towers topped with bonfires that became the first 17th-century Scottish lighthouses. Objects on show include beacons, paintings and huge glass lenses, all emphasising the continued importance of the lighthouse to ships at sea.

Exhibition: Shining Lights – The Story of Scotland’s Lighthouses, National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh

15 October–3 April 2011
0131 225 7534

Get stuck into a book

A host of celebrity names take part in over 450 events at The Times Cheltenham Literary Festival this year. Mary Beard takes a fresh look at the classical world, from gladiators to literature, while veterans of major 20th-century conflicts explore MI6 and the Special Forces. Other well-known faces include TV presenter Kevin McCloud, cricketer Ian Botham and former chancellor of the exchequer Alistair Darling, to name but a few.

Event: The Times Cheltenham Literary Festival
Cheltenham, Gloucestershire

8–17 October
01242 774400

Uncover black history

October is Black History Month and what better way to celebrate than by attending one of the many events and exhibitions taking place across the UK.
If people are your passion you could attend a lecture by Stephen Bourne, author of Mother Country, highlighting some of the country’s forgotten black Britons. If film is more your cup of tea, take a trip to London’s Southbank to enjoy Nigeria day, including a history of Nigeria on archive film. Check out the website to find out what else is going on.

Event: Black History Month

View Hungarian treasures

Give your eyes a treat this month and take a tour of the 200 paintings, drawings and sculptures currently showcased at the Treasures from Budapest exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts. The collection, dating from the early Renaissance to the 20th century, features works by Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Goya, Manet and Picasso, and comprises exhibits from the Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest, together with additional loans from the Hungarian National Gallery. Many of the works have never been shown before in the UK.

Exhibition: Treasures from Budapest: European Masterpieces from Leonardo to Schiele Royal Academy of Arts, London


Until 12 December
020 7300 8000


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