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Thomas Paine 200 Legacy Committee


Legacy Committee

Autumn Lectures 2011

Transcript available of the John Keane Lecture 'Old Age without Wretchedness': Thomas Paine's Vision of Growing Old.

Audio file of the Ruth Scurr Lecture 'Paine and the French Revolution'.


Brian Way - Mr Burke & Mr Paine

Alan Cardew - Common Sense and America

Pam Giddy -on Electoral Reform

DVD commemorating celebrations available.

See us onfacebook link



Download the full programme in Acrobat pdf format. (Get free Acrobat Reader here)

To book tickets for events, click here.

Also see the home page for late additions and corrections to the programme.

TOM PAINE (1737 - 1809)
Born the son of a Thetford corset-maker, Paine through his life and writings played a significant part in the development of the modern world.
He was a man who from an early age recognised injustice and challenged authority. He sought to redress grievances and gave voice to the aspirations of the ordinary man.
Paine was actively involved in both the American and French revolutions and through his pamphleteering and his major works Common Sense, Rights of Man and The Age of Reason drove a radical challenge to the eighteenth century order which has shaped the democracies of the modern world.

Bicentenary Weekend: Re-enactment and Heritage Festival
Friday 5th - Monday 8th June 2009

The town of Thetford in Norfolk is marking the bicentenary of the death of its most famous son with a seven month programme of celebratory events, at their head a weekend of entertainment designed to capture the spirit of The Man, The Place and The Age. Join us to enjoy a programme which includes:

Friday 5 June at 8.00 Old School, Thetford Grammar School

Rehearsed Reading of a play by Thomas Holcroft - a Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds production.
Novelist, playwright, translator and critic, Thomas Holcroft assisted in the publication of Thomas Paine's Rights of Man and was later tried for treason. Rarely revived, his works feature ideas on social and political reform as well as making strong moral points in a dramatic manner.

Saturday 6 June Thetford Town Centre 10.30 - 4.00

Against the appropriate background of market day
Saturday, professional re-enactors and local
groups create a Hogarthian panorama of life in
Georgian Thetford - its trades and popular
entertainment, electioneering, crime and
punishment, military recruitment and training.
Other featured displays and exhibitions include Ancient House Museum ‘Paine of Thetford’ a new exhibition featuring a Paine portrait recently acquired by the nation ; with ‘Corsets and Furbelows’ 18th century Costume Workshop and display.
Thetford Library ‘The Thomas Paine collection: an archive display’ and ‘A Revolutionary Tale :
the story of Thomas Paine’ - storytelling for children under 12 years.
St Peter’s Church ‘Paine in Pen and Ink’ workshops, displays and exhibits exploring the
cartoon propaganda and pamphleteering of the eighteenth century . Also featuring the Thomas
Paine Society’s recently created travelling exhibition.
Thetford Grammar School
‘Paine’s Schoolroom’ - a recreation of 18th century
school life.
Guildhall Art Exhibition, Dance Display by Norwich
Early Dance Society and local children, exhibition ‘The
Lisbon Earthquake of 1755’.
Burrell Museum ‘Paine the Engineer’ exhibition and bridge design competition.
Saturday 6 June Carnegie Room 7.30
Concert of virtuoso recorder & harpsichord music of the period given by Laura Cannell of Horses
Brawl and Carolyn Gibley of the Brook Street Band, followed at 9.00 by a Ceilidh with Rampant
Horse Collective. Fireworks to close the evening at 10.15.
Sunday 7 June 10.30 - 4.00 Thetford Market Place and Castle Hill

Today a French market forms the backdrop to street theatre
and entertainment and to a military re-enactment with
skirmishing below Castle Hill at 2.00. Enjoy a hog roast
while capturing the mood of England at the time of the
American Revolutionary War.


Take part in sedan chair racing. This will involve construction of a simple Sedan Chair, to be carried by either a two or four man crew, to your design and entering a team of three or five people, one being a lady (or small person), minimum weight 7 stone, to be the passenger. The race will be over a 60 to 80-metre course. Click here for an entry form which should be returned to the address on the form by 28th March 2009.

Picture of sedan chair
Many of Saturday’s displays and exhibitions will continue with additional features including
10.30 King’s House Gardens Band Concert
12.00 The Dolphin Barn and other venues Folk Sessions with local singers
4.30 Methodist Church Norfolk Gallery Quire: open workshop in the church music of the
time and evening service.
Monday 8 June Guildhall 7.00 for 7.30
After a leisurely day in the Brecks, one of the most
distinctive and fascinating corners of East Anglia, join
local people and civic dignitaries in a Bicentenary
Dinner recreating the Centenary event of 1909
“in which any citizen can take part, irrespective of
creed or party”.

Draft programme as at November 2009

Friday 19 September
Brian Way - Royalty and Revolution: the world of Thomas Paine
Williamson Hall, Thetford Grammar School, 8pm

Friday 2 October
Martin Rowson of The Guardian talks on Paine and the role of visual satire
Carnegie Room, 8pm
See it on youtube

Friday 9 October
Simon John - Thomas Paine and the Rights of Man: an early declaration of Universal Human Rights?
Old School, Thetford Grammar School, 8pm

Sunday 11 October
Roy Bailey and Tony Benn - The Writing on the Wall
Carnegie Room, 3pm

Friday 16 October
Dr Ruth Scurr, Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge on Paine and the French Revolution
Old School, Thetford Grammar School, 8pm
To download an audiofile of the lecture click here.

Friday 23 October
Tim Gorringe, St Luke's Professor of Theological Studies, Exeter looks at Paine's ideas and influence in the context of the religious thought of his day and beyond
St Cuthbert's Church, 8pm

Saturday 7 November
John Keane Professor Professor of Politics at the Centre for the Study of Democracy, University of Westminster : 'Old Age without Wretchedness': Thomas Paine's Vision of Growing Old
Carnegie Room, 8pm


With the exception of The Writing on the Wall, all lectures will be ticketed but free of charge.
Tickets for The Writing on the Wall will be £5 each.

The Bicentenary Weekend is just the start of seven months of events celebrating Paine and
Georgian Thetford. For further information about Town Tours, a lecture series featuring Tony Benn
and Martin Rowson of The Guardian and our Community play Citizen of the World or to obtain a copy
of the full programme, keep visiting www.tompaine200.org.uk. To book tickets, click here.