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A Brief History of Being Cold

Duration:
45 minutes
First broadcast:
Sunday 20 January 2013

Alexandra Harris presents a cultural history of the cold and how it has shaped the British. With the help of poets and writers including Simon Armitage, A.S. Byatt, Katherine Swift and Adam Gopnik Alex looks at the way our literature began with the cold in poems like 'The Seafarer' and 'The Wanderer'. Making winter a synonym for age and endurance the Anglo-Saxons wrote poetry mesmerised by the beauty and horror of cold. In Yorkshire Simon Armitage discusses his translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight imagining the Pennines crossed by Gawain, hung with icicles on his hunt for the Green Knight. And the gardener Katherine Swift takes us on a winter tour of her garden in Shropshire.

  • Poet Simon Armitage on Marsden Moor, West Yorkshire

    On Marsden Moor, West Yorkshire with poet Simon Armitage
  • Marsden Moor, West Yorkshire

    Marsden Moor, West Yorkshire
  • Marsden Moor, West Yorkshire

    Marsden Moor, West Yorkshire
  • Marsden Moor, West Yorkshire

    Marsden Moor, West Yorkshire
  • Dower House Garden at Morville

    Dower House Garden at Morville

    On the first real frosty day in winter Alexandra Harris visited Katherine Swift, the historian who designed the Dower House Garden at Morville in Shropshire, a garden which aims to tell the history of English gardening in spaces like the Knot Garden, the Victorian Rose Border, the Wild Garden and the Snowdrop Walk. The Dower House Garden is open to the public: details on the National Trust website

  • The Dower House at Morville

    Dower House at Morville
    The Dower House Garden is open to the public: details on the National Trust website

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