Talking King Alf and Royal Blood trail mark Winchester’s regal past

Press Release: 25/05/2016

Dr Ellie Woodacre and Cllr Steve Miller with 'Talking' King Alf

A new royal history trail has been created by the University of Winchester in partnership with Winchester City Council’s Visit Winchester team.

A ‘Talking King Alfred’ will personally welcome visitors to Winchester before they embark on the itinerary.

The new ‘Royal Blood’ trail was officially launched this week after students at the University researched the stories of royal births, deaths and visits to the Winchester district.

Part of Hampshire Cultural Trust’s Royal Blood campaign, which will also see re-enactments in the city, and exhibitions across the county, it is hoped the innovative programme will engage new audiences with the rich historical narrative of Hampshire.

Dr Ellie Woodacre, Senior Lecturer in Early Modern History at the University of Winchester, who worked with colleagues from the Archaeology and History departments to create the content for the leaflet, said:

“The Royal Blood trail is the second partnership project the University has undertaken with the Visit Winchester team following the creation of a successful Medieval Jewish Trail last Spring. It has been a rewarding exercise and I would like to thank colleagues in the departments of History and Archaeology, Dr Katherine Weikert, Dr Simon Roffey and Dr Ryan Lavelle and students Luke Barnes, Jessica Watson, Ashleigh Bridgeman and Jemma Harbot for all their hard work.

“The trail has been illustrated by local artist Wendy Bramall to bring some of the more gripping scenes such as Edward I’s escape from the burning castle apartments to life. These beautiful illustrations have also been turned into postcards to spread the message that Winchester’s part in our nation’s history is well worth exploring.”

Cllr Steve Miller, Winchester City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Estates, Economy and Tourism, explained:

“We’re delighted with the Royal Blood trail and would like to thank our colleagues at the University and their team of hard-working students for their efforts. During the development the Visit Winchester team were exploring ways to attract the attention of new audiences to engage visitors with Winchester’s fascinating past. The result is our talking version of Hamo Thornycroft’s iconic statue of King Alfred, created for us by local company CNC Polystyrene. At the push of a button he delivers a brief first-person insight into the monarch’s influential reign and has already proved as much a hit with adults as younger visitors.”

With a nod to the popular social media events-feed, ‘King Alf’, visitors to the TIC are also being encouraged to take selfies (#sALFies) with the exhibit and upload them to his popular Twitter site - @King_Alf - for a chance to win a royal-themed prize.

The Visit Winchester team has also redeveloped the Cheriton Battlefield Walk and Hampshire Cultural Trust has unveiled two large-scale re-enactments in Winchester and exhibitions and talks across the county.

See or visit Winchester Tourist Information Centre for more information.


Photograph shows Dr Ellie Woodacre, Senior Lecturer in Early Modern History at the University of Winchester, and Cllr Steve Miller, Winchester City Council Portfolio Holder for Estates, Economy and Tourism, with ‘Talking’ King Alf.