House, Gardens & Cafe Open Tuesday - Sunday 10.30 - 17.00

Frank Oates & King Lobengula: Encounter on the frontier of empire

It is September 1873. Frank Oates is keen to make his career as an explorer and naturalist. He seeks to be one of the first Europeans to see the Victoria Falls (on the border between what are today Zambia and Zimbabwe). To reach the Falls, Oates needs to pass through the lands of King Lobengula of the Ndebele nation, for which he needs royal permission…

This exhibition explores the relationship between Frank Oates and King Lobengula, and has been curated and researched by Dr Joe Higgins of The University of Southampton.

10th January – 26th March 2023

    Gilbert Whites House

    Gilbert White was aged 7 or 8 when the White family moved from the Vicarage on Selborne’s Plestor, to this house, called ‘The Wakes’ (named after the Wake family who had lived here previously). At that time the property would have been no more than a ‘two up, two down’  but over the subsequent years lots of extensions and additions have been made, creating the long sizeable house you see today.

    The rooms have been restored following descriptions in White’s own correspondence and include a chair he used at Oriel College, Oxford (loaned from the College), items of contemporary furniture, family portraits and bed hangings embroidered for him by his aunts.

    On display is the original manuscript of his book, The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne, which was purchased with generous help from English Heritage and others.

    Learn more