Everyone's talking about Walter

The Walter Morrison Festival celebrates the landowner, traveller, philanthropist and politician who died 100-years-ago

Thursday, 9th September 2021, 3:45 pm
A talk on Walter Morrison's life will be given on November 19.
A talk on Walter Morrison's life will be given on November 19.

All you ever wanted to know about Craven’s most prominent philanthropist and the times in which he lived will be revealed during a lecture series starting this September.

The talks are part of The Walter Morrison Festival celebrating the life of the landowner and politician who died a century ago.

Most of the lectures take place at 7.30pm at Giggleswick School, where Morrison was a governor for almost 60 years, and will be live-streamed too.

The influence of John Ruskin on the restoration of St Michael's Church in Kirkby Malham will be explored in a talk on December 3.

The series begins on September 10 with The Victorian Rite of Passage: Women, Travel and Empire by Dr James Watts, History in Public lecturer at Bristol University.

His talk explores travel, leisure and tourism in the British Empire from the 1850s-1930s, highlighting some female pioneers of solo worldwide travel.

“We’ll Build It Here, Brassington!” is the intriguing title of the talk by Giggleswick School archivist, Jim Bellis on September 24 about the story of Giggleswick School Chapel that Morrison funded.

Walter Morrison’s many interests included involvement with the Palestine Exploration Fund (PEF) founded in 1865 to develop archaeological and scientific research.

Walter Morrison invested so heavily in Argentina that a town was named after him as will be explained in the talk on October 22.

A talk about the PEF’s early exploration of the Holy Land will be given by PE chief executive and curator, Felicity Cobbing on October 8.

A seasoned traveller, Morrison had a particular connection to Argentina where he invested heavily and helped to develop the Central Argentine Railway.

His involvement will be explored by Oxford University Emeritus Reader in International Relations, Dr Charles Jones, on October 22 in Why Argentina?

When at his Malham estate, Morrison hosted many famous visitors, including Charles Kingsley who, it is thought, was inspired by his visit to write The Water Babies.

The beautiful dome of Giggleswick Chapel funded by Walter Morrison. A talk on September 24 will tell the story. Picture by B.P.M Harris Photography.

On November 5, Southampton University senior lecturer, Dr Jonathan Conlin will explain Kingsley’s role in the evolution debate during his talk, Rinse and Repeat: Christian Evolution and Kingsley’s The Water Babies.

Another of Morrison’s famous friends was John Ruskin who might have inspired his restoration of St Michael’s Church in Kirkby Malham.

On December 3, Sheila Overton, partner at Overton Architects, talks on The Influence of John Ruskin on the Morrison-funded 1880 Restoration of St Michael’s Church, Kirkby Malham.

The Making of Walter Morrison: Family, Wealth, Education, Travel, Radicalism and Public Service is the subject of the November 19 talk.

The influences that shaped Morrison’s life with a particular focus on his family, his upbringing, his education and inherited wealth will be explored by Dr Caroline Dakers, Professor Emerita of Cultural History at London’s University of the Arts.

The lecture series ends on December 10 at Settle Drill Hall with The Military Father of the District: Walter Morrison and the First World War by Dr Bill Smith, author of Captain Tunstill’s Men: The Story of a Company in the Great War.

Tickets for all talks are priced £5/£7. For booking details, visit hereThe Walter Morrison Festival also includes exhibitions at Giggleswick School Chapel, Kirkby Malham Church, Kirkby Malham Parish Hall, Malham Chapel and Skipton Library until September 30. From October, all the exhibitions come together at The Folly.