Fifty Years of Thomas Hardy Society Birthday Weekend Celebrations - A brief history
Dr Tony Fincham, THS Chairman
Although the Hardy Birthday weekend celebrations were cancelled; thanks to the efforts of Alistair Chisholm and Sue Clarke, a private wreath-laying took place at Hardy’s Statue and on his grave at Stinsford on the Sunday following his birthday.
2020 Wreathlaying at Hardy's Grave in Stinsford Churchyard
To celebrate the 180th anniversary of Hardy’s birth on Tuesday 2nd June, The New Hardy Players and the Victorian Fair Committee produced this video
The cancelled birthday weekend celebrations would have been the golden anniversary of this Thomas Hardy Society event. The first formal celebration occurred on 2nd June 1970 when a wreath was laid at Top o’ Town followed by a lecture by the poet Vernon Scammell. This started a pattern of birthday weekend wreath-layings followed by an eminent speaker: Lord David Cecil in 1971, Desmond Hawkins the following year and then Frank Pinion.
Wreathlaying at Stinsford 2019 - Dr Faysal Mikdadi and Dr Tony Fincham
Birthday commemorations at Stinsford 2004 - Furse Swann
Birthday commemorations at Stinsford 2004 - James Gibson and Tony Fincham
Birthday Celebrations 2012 - Mayor of Dorchester and Town Cryer Alistair Chisholm
Over the ensuing half-century most of the great names in the world of Hardy appreciation have delivered a birthday lecture, interspersed with many equally interesting and knowledgeable speakers from a variety of more humble backgrounds. The annual Hardy Birthday Commemoration Service at Stinsford started on the 145th anniversary of his birth in 1985 and has seen sermons from a wide variety of clerics, many with a strong personal interest in Thomas Hardy – and his personal philosophy of loving-kindness.
24th June 2020