The ambitious programme of commemorations for Southampton in the Mayflower 400 anniversary year has been launched at a series of community-wide consultation events this week.
The year-long Mayflower 400 commemoration, to be held from November 2019 to November 2020, will explore all aspects of the Mayflower story - its history and legacy, reflecting the core themes of imagination, humanity, freedom and future.
The programme will comprise more than 400 events nationwide celebrating culture, heritage and community and will pioneer a new approach to commemorating one of the most influential voyages in history.
On August 15th 1620 the Mayflower and the Speedwell sailed away from Southampton bound for the New World, with 102 Pilgrims on board. The Mayflower 400 programme gives us a unique opportunity to highlight Southampton’s cultural, maritime and heritage assets to members of our community as well as visitors from across the UK, the Netherlands and the USA.
A series of six public launch events, hosted by the Southampton Mayflower 400 team, will be held at public libraries across the city are being held in late January.
With the support of Southampton City Council, the team will unveil the proposed framework of events for the commemoration year in Southampton and open a community consultation process asking the people of Southampton how they would like to participate in their commemoration of the Mayflower sailing from the city.
As well as unveiling the framework of proposed events, Mayflower 400 will be looking to recruit volunteers - Mayflower Makers - from every community in Southampton to help at events throughout 2020 and to share their stories of Southampton, particularly those which include the subject of journeys and migration.
The Mayflower 400 events programme will share the values of migration, tolerance, freedom and democracy and tell the story of a ship and its passengers - a group of people that a remarkable 30million+ US citizens have descended from.
The Mayflower Memorial in Southampton is to be refreshed and redeveloped as part of a new trail for the anniversary year
The anniversary is a bid to explore the Mayflower’s history and legacy, with 400 events planned across the four nations - England, Holland, the US and the Native People Wampanoag nation.
Project manager Jim Zalles said: “The Mayflower voyage was one of the most influential journeys in global history and a defining moment in the shared history of Britain, the US and the Netherlands.
“This programme will not only put Southampton on the map as a cultural and tourist destination, as well as driving local economic growth, but it will enable us to enhance education and awareness of the voyage - and what it means to us today, through heritage and culture.”
The Richard Taunton Sixth Form College choir performed at Central Library on January 21 at the first event, singing a selection of nautical related songs.
Volunteers from Southampton communities will be recruited to help at events throughout 2020 and to share their stories of Southampton, particularly those which include the subject of journeys and migration.
In partnership with Artful Scribe, five pieces of writing have been commissioned using the Mayflower 400 story as context. Three writers over 18 - Ghost River, Ali Sparkes, and Faisal Javed - and two junior writers - Amelia Fletcher and Hari Bravery - have been chosen and their stories will be read at the launch events this week.
The remaining public events will take place at the following locations:
To Volunteer at a Southampton Mayflower 400 event, click here
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