Lecture Series

Explore the life and times of Walter Morrison in this lecture series featuring academics, archivists and architects.

21st May, 7:30pm – Walter Morrison: A Man of Many Parts

This is the story of the Grand Old Man of Craven as he was affectionately known. A politician, local landowner, military man, businessman and benefactor; the talk explores these and other aspects of his life.
Robin Bundy, Archivist of the Malhamdale Local History Group
Venue: On Zoom. Watch online now

10th September, 7:30pm – The Victorian Rite of Passage: Women, Travel and Empire

Travel could be a liberating experience, especially for women, encountering new cultures and less hierarchical societies. This talk explores travel, leisure and tourism in the British Empire from the 1850s to the 1930s, exploring some of the women who pioneered solo travel around the world.
Dr James Watts, Lecturer of History in Public at the University of Bristol.
Venue: Memorial Library, Giggleswick School

24th September, 7:30pm – “We’ll Build it Here, Brassington!”

The story of Giggleswick School Chapel
Jim Bellis, Archivist of Giggleswick School.
Venue: The Chapel, Giggleswick School

8th October, 7:30pm – From Travellers’ Tales to Triangulation: The Early Exploration of the Holy Land by the Palestine Exploration Fund

Founded in 1865 the Palestine Exploration Fund (PEF), an organisation with which Walter Morrison was intimately involved, was a pivotal force in the development of archaeological and scientific research in Ottoman and Mandate Palestine. This talk will look at the PEF in the 19th century as a society, its character, aims, and will explore the motivations of its early members and the organisation’s place in Victorian society.
Felicity Cobbing, Chief Executive and Curator of the Palestine Exploration Fund.
Venue: Memorial Library, Giggleswick School

22nd October, 7:30pm – Why Argentina?

Commercial and political motives are hard to separate when accounting for the pattern of the Morrison family’s investments, as too is the extent to which Charles and Walter were mere rentiers or were actively engaged in the oversight of their vast portfolios. The talk explores these issues, paying particular attention to the management of Anglo-River Plate investments by Ashurst, Morris, Crisp (today’s Ashurst), solicitors to the Morrisons, and to the development of the Central Argentine Railway.
Dr Charles Jones, Emeritus Reader in International Relations, University of Oxford
Venue: Memorial Library, Giggleswick School

5th November, 7:30pm – Rinse and Repeat: Christian Evolution and Kingsley’s “The Water-Babies”

Many consider the publication of Darwin’s “Origin of Species” as the death knell for Christianity. In his best-selling “The Water-Babies” (1863), however, controversialist and author Charles Kingsley (1819-1875) made child’s play of evolution, showing how it drew science and faith closer together, rather than driving them apart.
Dr Jonathan Conlin, Senior Lecturer, University of Southampton
Venue: Memorial Library, Giggleswick School

19th November, 7:30pm – The Making of Walter Morrison: Family, Wealth, Education, Travel, Radicalism and Public Service

In his fifties, Walter Morrison wrote to a nephew: ‘Life which is all beer and skittles … is deadly dull work to the Northerner, especially to a Morrison, all of us more or less morbid. I found this out before I was your age [22] and got into business, and I suppose I should be wretched now if I had no hard work and anxiety.’ This talk will explore the influences that shaped the private and public life of Walter Morrison, with a particular focus on his family, his upbringing at Fonthill House, Basildon Park and London, his education and his inherited wealth.
Dr Caroline Dakers, Professor Emerita of Cultural History, University of the Arts London
Venue: Memorial Library, Giggleswick School

3rd December, 7:30pm – The Influence of John Ruskin on the Morrison-Funded 1880 Restoration of St Michael’s Church, Kirkby Malham

John Ruskin is known to have visited Walter Morrison on his Malham Estate. Ruskin’s philosophies inspired the conservation movement and he was one of the co-founders of SPAB (Society for the Preservation of Ancient Buildings).  The conservation movement started as a reaction against the over-zealous church restorations of the Victorian era. Was Walter Morrison inspired by the conservation philosophy of John Ruskin? Is this evident in the 1880 restoration of St Michael’s, Kirkby Malham?
Sheila Overton, Partner at Overton Architects
Venue: The Chapel, Giggleswick School

10th December, 7:30pm – The Military Father of the District: Walter Morrison and the First World War

In 1914 Walter Morrison had a record of almost 60 years involvement in the military life of the Craven District. His support for the war effort in 1914 and beyond was considerable but perhaps his greatest legacy for future generations would be the part he would play in remembering those who fell in the war.

Dr Bill Smith, author of ‘Captain Tunstill’s Men’: the story of a Company in the Great War.
Venue: Settle Drill Hall

All lectures will be hybrid events, with both in-person and livestream bookings available. In the event of a lockdown, all in-person bookings will be sent the link for the livestream.