On July 12, 2017, the Waterloo Uncovered team banded together for a day of non‐stop reading in the chapel at Hougoumont farm. Both a remembrance and fundraising event, Reading to Remember consisted of 30 readings, shared among 55 readers, who bravely took on the challenge of reading throughout the day.
The reading marathon kicked off with Matthew Clay’s famous account of the battle. Clay was a British private of the 3rd Foot Guards, and was part of the reinforcements from the 1st and 3rd Foot Guards sent to Hougoumont Farm to support the Coldstream Guards, Hanoverian Jaegers and Nassauers defending it against the French. His account of the Battles of Quatre Bras and Waterloo was shared between TV archaeologist Peter Ginn, Royal Tank Regiment veteran Alexander Mitchell, veteran Coldstream Guardsman Thomas Betteridge, and archaeology student Laura Reed.
In true Waterloo Uncovered fashion, the day continued with readers from diverse nationalities, ages, and walks of life, who read from books and first hand accounts in Dutch, English, and French. For some readers it was a trying experience, as they had never read in public, and some were affected by the resemblance between the experiences of 1815 soldiers and their own military experience.
Throughout, the team worked together to keep the program of scheduled readings on track, and the readings, which started at 10.00 sharp, ended around 19.40, just an hour ahead of schedule.
Throughout the day, people came and went in the chapel, with fellow readers and tourists listening to the readings. For those of you who were not at Hougoumont farm on the day, the readings were recorded, and are available for all to enjoy on Waterloo Uncovered’s YouTube channel, and via our website (see links below), along with most reading transcripts.
The team effort around Reading to Remember 2017 has raised over £6,000 in sponsorships by its closing date, on the 31rst August 2017, and Waterloo Uncovered would like to thank every one of the participants and sponsors for their help.
Reading to Remember is an annual event and will happen again during the Waterloo Uncovered 2018 summer excavation. Watch this space for dates…