Recent and Forthcoming Events

Note that we’re listing not only events put on by the George Borrow Society, but a pick of others that may be of interest to Borrovians.  If you’re interested in any of them please follow the links to get more details.  Members of the Society who are aware of suitable events should email David so they can be added.

Lots of organisations are still planning their 2020 events when this was updated, hence it’s a bit sparse.


Firstly, not an event, but congratulations to Arthur Tait, chairman of the Friends of Brompton Cemetery (where Borrow is buried) who was recognised on the Queen’s New Year’s Honours.

28 January 2020, Churchill & Wartime Spain

For those who missed this last year, the free exhibition and lecture turns up at Madrid.  Churchill was a great admirer of Borrow, and of course Borrow wrote one of the classic books on Spain.  Churchill found comfort in Borrow’s:

Fear not the result, for either shall thy end be a majestic and an enviable one, ...

Bible in Spain, Chapter 51.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle also cited the same passage in his book Through the Magic Door.  Also see articles in the Bulletin.

28 January 2020, Little known Tudor History of Norwich

This event, at the Millennium Library, Norwich, will be given by three experts, including Dr. Clive Wilkins-Jones who has given many excellent talks to the George Borrow Society.  Borrow was of course very interested in the Tudor history, as seen in Wild Wales and Celtic Bards.  Note the event talks place on other dates too: see the link.

29 January 2020, Victorian Shoreditch

George Borrow knew and wrote about the outcasts of society, including those around London (such as at Epping, Wandsworth Common and of course Notting Hill).  The Society of Genealogists have a talk about the underside of Shoreditch society which will put Borrow’s observations in context.

1 February 2020, Norfolk Ancestors

George Borrow was born at East Dereham, Norfolk, and many of the people in his books come from the area: the Society of Genealogists are running a course on researching Norfolk people.  They have another course dealing with Suffolk ancestors on the same day (which is where Borrow’s wife, Mary, came from).

early February 2020, Newsletter

The George Borrow Bulletin was Ann Ridler’s masterpiece and has now ceased.  The Chester 2019 AGM asked to have a Newsletter instead and it’s hoped to put something together to distribute in early February, almost certainly by email as postage is costly and very time consuming for those involved.

7–16 February 2020, Shrewsbury Darwin Festival

The George Borrow Society had a wonderful weekend in Shrewsbury in 2018, and members might like to revisit and take part in the activities.  George Borrow’s son-in-law, William McOubrey, studied at Edinburgh a year before Darwin went there.  There’s various events and members are encouraged to visit Shrewsbury Museum which has lots of interest related to Borrow’s stay in Shrewsbury in 1856.

8 February 2020, Traditional tales from Wales

This event, in both Welsh and English, at St. Fagans National Museum of History Cardiff, relates tales from the medieval Welsh book, the Mabinogion.  Although Borrow knew a good deal of the Welsh classics, I don’t think he mentions this one.  You can also look around the museum as well.

12 February 2020, Cemeteries of South London

George Borrow is buried in Brompton Cemetery, who are still deciding their 2020 programme: so in the meantime this talk will give background on the development of the cemeteries around London.  Although Brompton doesn’t have any events, it is open daily and well worth a visit: do try their new cafe.  See our page on Borrow’s Grave for more details.

15 February–16 March 2020, Gypsy Maker Art Exhibition

This art exhibition, in Newport, Wales, features Romani arts.  The exhibition does seem to be on tour so if you cannot make Newport or the date, you might be able to catch it elsewhere: see the link for details.

11 March 2020: The Victorian Actresses

There’s not much of a link between this lecture and George Borrow, although its said his mother, Anne Perfrement, was acting in a local play when Captain Thomas Borrow, Borrow’s father, first saw her.  The talk is at the Victoria & Albert Museum, but it looks as if you can listen to it via their Website, once it’s taken place.

21 March 2020: The Norwich Dialect and its Origins

The Norfolk Archaeological & Historical Research Group (NAHRG) have a lecture, programme which may be of interest to Borrovians.  Borrow’s teenage years were spent in Norwich and there were numerous returns over the rest of his life.  It would be interesting if members would like to look at how much Norwich/Norfolk dialect turns up in Borrow.

29 March 2020, Aberystwyth Ramblers

The Aberystwyth Ramblers have quite a lot of walks in the area that Borrow went through in Wild Wales.  This one is around Devil’s Bridge.  Note that if you don’t like heights you don’t want to go anywhere near the bridge.

June, John Hentges New CD

Our member John Hentges has made a new CD featuring the ballads translated by Borrow, put to music!  Members who remember the excellent singing of John and Heather Uden at our Brompton 2014 Christmas meal may like to know that some of the songs feature Heather too.  A proper page on this is coming...

July 5th, Borrow’s Birthday in Brompton

The Society will probably meet to lay a wreath on Borrow’s grave, as in 2019.  A bit of a way off at the moment, but details will follow.


It was the hope of our former Chairman, Dr. Ann Ridler, to hold a Society weekend in Edinburgh, but sadly this did not prove possible before her untimely death.  At the Chester AGM (2019) many in the Society expressed a desire for a weekend in Edinburgh, but so far nobody has been found to organise it.  If you’re interested in helping contact our Membership Secretary (Mike Skillman) or David Price (