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President's Lecture

The Mayflower in stained glass

“Mayflower 400: Legend and Legacy”

To mark the 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower from Southampton and Plymouth, our President, Jo Bailey, invited Jo Loosemore, Curator of the Mayflower 400: Legend and Legacy exhibition for The Box, Plymouth, to give this year’s President’s Lecture after the Field Club’s AGM - due to be held on 28/5/20. Jo Loosemore is the curator of the Mayflower 400: Legacy and Legend exhibition which would have just opened in the Box, Plymouth, the biggest museum opening in the UK this year. The £46m Box will also become the south west’s largest centre for art and the home of the regional film and Plymouth City archives.

Along with all our other Spring and Summer events, both AGM and Lecture have been postponed due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, so we have put together a selection of online items about the Mayflower instead. We hope you will find them interesting and that they act as a taster for all the Mayflower 400 commemorations that we hope will still take place later this year.

Jo Loosemore is also a radio producer, presenter and maker working on a wide variety of programmes including The Listening project with the British Library and BBC Radio 4 and many arts and heritage-related projects with BBC local radio.

Through a shared history over four centuries, the commemoration has brought together four nations – the UK, the US, the Netherlands and the Wampanoag Nation. This international partnership has ensured collaboration in programming for potential visitors, family historians and local communities. The anniversary has also connected villages, towns and cities across England – all with some connection to the story or the ship. As departure points in 1620 and commemoration destinations in 2020, Southampton and Plymouth are linked by the history and legacy of the Mayflower.

Links to Mayflower features and resources:

The Sarah Siddons Fan Club Theatre

Several productions have had to be cancelled this year, but thanks to a small grant from Southampton City Council’s Mayflower 400 programme one of the productions has been re-imagined as a feature film! ‘A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to America’ is in the form of a ‘documentary’ where passengers on the Mayflower as well as local townspeople in Southampton reflect on events in August 1620, the people are all real, as are their stories but dramatized in the traditional SSFC way. The film was premiered over the Heritage Open Days weekend on 19th & 20th September 2020.

You can watch the short film trailer on YouTube or the full version of ‘A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to America’ also on YouTube

In addition the company have also produce a downloadable resource pack linked to their research for the production, this included a walking tour of 1620 Southampton, a timeline of events linked to migrations, and a link to resource materials and archives. 

HFC President - Jo Bailey Jo Loosemore

The making of the Mayflower 400: Legend and Legacy exhibition

Jo Bailey asks Jo Loosemore about how she approached the exhibition, decided on its content and whether it revealed new information
Jo Bailey Jo Loosemore


Passengers and crew from Hampshire

Brief biographies provided by the New England Historical Genealogical Society

Monument to Mayflower settlers


Geneva Bible

John Alden’s Geneva Bible 

Recording by Jo Loosemore about this intriguing bible that may not have the history its cover suggests. One of the objects that will be on show in theMayflower 400: Legend and Legacyexhibition. (7 minutes)

Photo with thanks to Dartmouth College


Mayflower 400 UK  

National Events Programme. Its website contains lots more information about the Mayflower Story.

Replica of Plimoth Village


Replica cooking pot

The Box, Plymouth  

Plymouth’s new £46 million cultural destination opening in 2020 and the flagship project of the country’s Mayflower 400 commemorations. Many objects are coming to Plymouth for the first time, or are returning to the city for the first time in 400 years, for the Mayflower 400: Legend and Legacy exhibition. The Box is the biggest museum opening in the UK this year and will become the south west’s largest centre for art and the home of the regional film and Plymouth City archives.

Photo with thanks to SmokeSygnals


Hampshire Papers (Second Series) No. 8: Memories of the Mayflower in Southampton, by Tom Hulme

Many villages, towns and cities in England are proud of their connection to the Mayflower whether because they were the original home of a Pilgrim, or a port of departure for the ship. Southampton, from where the Mayflower first attempted to reach the Colony of Virginia, is one such place. In this article, Dr Tom Hulme traces the romantic afterlife of the voyage in the city all the way from the mid-19th century to the present day. Find out how to pre-order a copy.

Mayflower re-enactors


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