‘Napoleon 200’ Campaign Launched

The new British Napoleonic Bicentenary Trust (BNBT) launched its ‘Napoleon 200’ Campaign – a range of events to tell the story of Napoleon on St Helena – to the public on Thursday, 10 September 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event was held entirely online.

The Trust has two main objectives:

  • To preserve the Island’s heritage – where the Trust will fundraise for two priority projects: Toby’s Cottage, a building at the Briars which housed the Balcombe family’s slaves; and a new Heritage Trail
  • To promote new perspectives on the story of Napoleon on St Helena – Where the Trust will organise a series of events to raise awareness of the Bicentenary and promote the Island.

Speaking about the launch event, BNBT Executive Director, James Bramble, said:

“The event was a success, with 100 people joining live and over 200 views since. The numbers keep growing as the video of the event is shared online.”

The launch was chaired by James and introduced a video presentation first by noted historian, TV presenter, and author of ‘Napoleon The Great’- Andrew Roberts.  Andrew explained how the story of Napoleon has elements of Greek tragedy to it, and that the story of his exile became a fundamental part of the myth of Napoleon. Governor Dr Philip Rushbrook, the French Consul Michel Dancoisne-Martineau, and St Helena Government’s UK Representative, Kedell Worboys, MBE all urged the audience to get involved with the Campaign and to consider how they might be able to support it, while the Trust’s Chair of Trustees and author of ‘Terrible Exile, The Last Days of Napoleon on Saint Helena’ – Sir Brian Unwin – talked warmly of St Helena and its environmental and built heritage, introduced the fractious relationship between Napoleon and Sir Hudson Lowe, and elaborated on Andrew Robert’s themes of Napoleon’s incarceration on St Helena having echoes of tragedy.  Finally, TV presenter, historian, and architectural expert, Dan Cruickshank, introduced the Toby’s Cottage Project and focused on the story of Toby and why it is so important for that story to be told.

A recording of the launch is available online at the following link for those who were unable to ‘attend’ the online event: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2JmFSSf6MPU

The Trust will shortly be releasing details of the events programme to take us up to May 2021.  St Helena residents who might be interested in assisting with any of the built heritage projects on the Island are asked to contact James Bramble via: james@napoleon200.org.

Notes to Editors

The British Napoleonic Bicentenary Trust is a new UK registered charity, and was set up by St Helena Government last year. 

Its chair of trustees is author and former head of the European Investment Bank, Sir Brian Unwin. Other trustees include TV historian Dan Cruickshank, Times writer Michael Binyon, and Kedell Worboys MBE, SHG representative in the UK.

The Trust has been set up to preserve the built heritage of the British Overseas Territory of St Helena dating from the Georgian period (1714-1837), with a particular emphasis on the sites built by the British as a result of Napoleon Bonaparte’s rule (1799-1815) and subsequent incarceration on the Island (1815-21).

More information on the British Napoleonic Bicentenary Trust can be found at: www.napoleon200.org

SHG/BNBT

16 September 2020

St Helena Government Press Office

Telephone: 22470
Email: liam.yon@sainthelena.gov.sh