England Comes (Back) to Charleston!

The forces of His Majesty’s Government left Charleston in 1782 at the end of the American Revolution, never to return.  Yet, the city retained a lot of its English character and culture including, among many other things, its King and Queen Streets. It also retained the oldest St. George’s Society in North America (founded in 1733) which is still active today.  In light of its continued Anglo affinities, the Locating the Hidden Diaspora Project at Northumbria University in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, in conjunction with the Program in the Carolina Lowcountry and Atlantic at the College of Charleston, the South Carolina Historical Society, and the Charleston Library Society, have organized a number of English cultural events to coincide with the 2013 Spoleto fortnight (or in American English two weeks!).

Events kick off at 3 pm on 28 May 2013 with a lecture by Dr. David Gleeson of Northumbria, entitled ‘England and the Antebellum South’ which is part of the Charleston Library Society’s Piccolo Spoleto Literary Festival. That evening, at 6 pm, the project opens the exhibition ‘England, the English & English Culture in North America’ [opens .pdf] at the Addlestone Library at the College of Charleston.  The exhibition runs to June 10 but will be available permanently through the Lowcountry Digitial Library. The opening will feature a performance by the Hexham Morris troupe, a group of 32 folk dancers and musicians from the Northeast of England.  As well as performing in the Piccolo Spoleto Arts Festival, they will also be giving a free concert on Thursday 30 May at 7 pm in Physicians Auditorium at the College of Charleston entitled, ‘Dance the Seasons Round:  A Celebration of Traditional English Dance and Song’ [opens .pdf], which will trace through the performance the 500 years of the England’s oldest surviving dance tradition.

For more information please contact David Gleeson by email at david.gleeson@northumbria.ac.uk  or @englishdiaspora on twitter. If you plan to come to the exhibition opening please rsvp to David Gleeson by email or twitter @dgleesonhistory