Grantham’s Gravity Fields festival: Woolsthorpe Manor to host own ‘mini-fest’

Woolsthorpe Manor. Photo: Colin Russell

Woolsthorpe Manor. Photo: Colin Russell

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Woolsthorpe Manor, Isaac Newton’s birthplace, is hosting its own ‘mini-fest’ as an integral part of September’s Gravity Fields programme.

A special programme of events has been drawn together over the festival’s five days (21-25 September), commemorating 350 years since Newton fled Cambridge to escape the plague and made spectacular scientific advances from his Woolsthorpe home.

Michael Mosley

Michael Mosley

Now, three-and-a-half centuries on, the bubonic killer hits the village, with schools and family ‘Plague Days’ re-enactments, plague doctors and body collectors with their sinister bird masks courtesy of Greenwich and Lewisham Young People’s Theatre.

Speakers include TV’s popular Michael Mosley, tracking Galileo’s rise from an unlikely background, and Cambridge engineer Dr Hugh Hunt celebrates The Genius Engineers of WW2.

Two of Gravity’s eminent scientific patrons, world Newton expert Professor Rob Iliffe and Cambridge physicist Professor Valerie Gibson also feature.

Rob Iliffe is speaking on Newton and Samuel Pepys, and addressing a special Newton Service of Dedication on Sunday evening in St John’s Church in Colsterworth. Valerie Gibson chooses what she considers were Newton’s top 10 scientific achievements.

Hugh Hunt

Hugh Hunt

St John’s Church also has a solargraph exhibition featuring fascinating pinhole camera images of landscapes relating to Newton’s youth, taken by local artist Kelly Barfoot.

It’s a programme welcomed by Jannette Warrener, operations manager of the National Trust-owned property. She said: “I’m delighted that Woolsthorpe Manor will be a major venue at this year’s festival, hosting key speakers and renowned scientists as well running hands-on school workshops.

“Recognised as a place of national/international inspiration for visitors from all across the world, it is really important that we work together to share Newton’s story with a wider audience. We are committed to exploring the relevance that Newton has for us today and putting him back into the heart of Grantham.

“We should never underestimate the impact Newton has had on the world and should be proud that he was born, bred and achieved his most notable scientific works here at Woolsthorpe Manor.

“The fact that it is 350 years since he returned to Woolsthorpe all adds to a very special festival in 2016.”

For more information or to book tickets to an event, visit www.gravityfields.co.uk or call the box office on 01476 406158.