Prof John Belchem

Event Type: Harris History Talk
Date: 27 March 2019
Location: Harris Museum, 6.00pm


Join Prof John Belchem (University of Liverpool) as we take a look at Henry Hunt, the star orator at the ill-fated meeting at Manchester in August 1819 which resulted in the Peterloo massacre. Henry Hunt was finally elected MP for Preston in December 1830 and pledged to present every petition sent to him. He duly introduced Mary Smith’s pioneer petition for female suffrage in August 1832, calling for the vote for unmarried women.

Historians have simply noted how the petition was greeted with derision, but it merits deeper study, not least because its vindication of the rights of women is accompanied by virulent condemnation of male homosexuality. An early milestone on the long journey to secure votes for women, Mary Smith’s petition reveals political, personal and sexual divisions in early 19th century radicalism – over feminism homosexuality and adultery - attitudes and prejudices which inhibited any decisive pre-Victorian advance beyond manhood suffrage.

Talk takes place at the Harris Museum, Art Gallery & Library, 6.00pm to 7.30pm on Wednesday 27 March 2019

The Myth of Regions? Nineteenth-century interpretations of the medieval past

Event Type: Harris History Talk
Date: 27 February 2019
Location: Harris Museum, 6.00pm

In this talk, Dr Fiona Edmonds (Lancaster University) considers the nineteenth-century reception of northern England's medieval past. She asks in what ways historical study of the medieval period contributed to perceptions of northern English identity, and whether there was a regional element to nineteenth-century medievalism.

Talk takes place at the Harris Museum, Art Gallery & Library, 6.00pm to 7.30pm on Wednesday 27 February 2019

An Oral Historian's Journey

Event Type: Harris History Talk
Date: 30 January 2019
Location: Harris Museum, 6.00pm

In this talk, Dr Elizabeth Roberts discusses how she became an oral historian, some of the problems that she encountered, and what she learned from her pioneering work across Barrow, Lancaster and Preston.

Dr Roberts will draw on her experiences of gathering the material now contained in the Elizabeth Roberts Working Class Oral History Archive, held at Lancaster University and currently undergoing digitization. It is a rich collection of peoples’ experience consisting of 545 tape recordings, questionnaires and transcripts of interviews covering social life across industrial Lancashire.

The Archive has recently been the focus of the ‘Walking in Others Footsteps’ project with Mirador, and utilised in the production of the short film Give Me Today, Anytime, recent winner of the Arts & Humanities Research Council Inspiration Award (2018).

Talk takes place at the Harris Museum, Art Gallery & Library, 6.00pm to 7.30pm on Wednesday 30 January 2019

John Boyle O’Reilly - monuments on three continents

Event Type: Seminar
Date: 28 November 2018
Location: Harris Museum, 6:30pm
Tickets: Free but signup needed.

Dr Joan Allen, Senior Lecturer in Modern British History at Newcastle University, will examine memorials to the famous Preston Irishman, John Boyle O’Reilly (1844-1890) in America, Australia and Ireland. These monuments reflect the esteem and respect in which the writer and activist was held long after his death and are a tribute to his enduring legacy and importance not only for the Irish abroad but for many people concerned with human rights and freedoms.

John Boyle O’Reilly (1844-1890) was a radical Irish nationalist and world-renowned author and campaigner who lived in Preston for a few short years with relatives but retained a fond affection for the town and the time he spent here. He later became involved in the militant revolutionary Irish nationalist movement, the Fenians, was imprisoned and transported to Australia from where he escaped, finally settling in Boston in the US. Here he turned away from the violent revolutionary path of his younger days and became a leading public figure in American society, noted for his literary work and his campaigning for Irish independence and the rights of American workers. O’Reilly became editor of the Boston Pilot newspaper and used his position to also fight against the racism and inequality he saw in American society against both African-Americans and the Native American people. This event at the Harris Museum and Library will feature an exhibition highlighting O’Reilly’s adventurous and dramatic life.

Talk takes place at the Harris Museum, Art Gallery & Library, 6.30pm to 7.45pm, Wednesday, 28 November 2018.

The Harris Institute at War

Event Type: Seminar
Date: 3 October 2018
Location: Livesy House, LH326, UCLan
Tickets: All welcome

This paper considers the impact of the First World War on further education, as provided by the Harris Institute in Preston. It is based on a volunteer project that set out to explore a different aspect to the war. The findings show that the social make-up of the student population, and the profile of subjects studied, changed markedly during the war years, providing new opportunities for young people. The volunteers’ research also raised challenging questions about the history and commemoration of the First World War.

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Tim Curtis Memorial Lecture

Event Type: Public Lecture
Date: 19th September 2018
Location: Harris Museum, Preston
Tickets: Eventbrite
Social Media: #Vote100

This year we are delighted to welcome Dr Jill Liddington, Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Leeds. Dr Liddington has a long established career as a leading authority of women’s history, examining the interplay between suffrage, gender, and class in nineteenth and twentieth century Britain for over four decades. Her publications include:

  • One Hand Tied Behind Us: the rise of the women’s suffrage movement (co-author), Virago Press 1978 & 1984; Rivers Oram Press 2000; French edition 2018.
  • Female Fortune: land, gender and authority: Anne Lister diaries 1833-36, Rivers Oram Press, 1998.
  • Nature’s Domain: Anne Lister and the landscape of desire, Pennine Pens 2003.
  • Rebel Girls: their fight for the vote, Virago Press 2006.
  • Vanishing for the Vote: suffrage, citizenship and the battle for the census, Manchester University Press 2014.

Dr Liddington will be delivering a paper as part of the wider ‘Vote 100’ events taking place across the country. She will be telling the stories of local suffragette Edith Rigby, and of radical suffragist Selina Cooper of Nelson. In midsummer 1913, the WSPU's arson campaign included Edith's burning down a local house; this contrasted vividly with the suffragists' great Pilgrimage down to London. Which propaganda tactic was more effective in 'getting Asquith's ear'?

This event is part of a series of talks on democracy, leading up to the anniversary of the Representation of the People Act 1918.

100 years ago, all men over 21 and women over 30 years old received the vote if they were either a member or married to a member of the Local Government Register, a property owner, or a graduate voting in a University constituency.

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Reappraising the Representation of the People Act event image

Reappraising the Representation of the People Act, 1918

Event Type: Symposium
Date and Time: 14th September 2018
Location: Livesey House
Tickets: Eventbrite



2018 marks the centenary of the Representation of the People Act (RPA). Passed in the last year of the first world war, the RPA enjoyed all party support, in recognition of the contribution to the war effort made by women and some working-class men, previously excluded from the franchise. Although the RPA still excluded women under 30, it tripled the electorate and transformed British politics into a representative democracy. The RPA and its legacy are still the subject of intense historical debate relating to gender, class and nationhood. As part of UCLan’s contribution to the centenary commemorations of the first world war, this day conference will draw together speakers who are currently involved in the debate.

The conference complements the exhibition represent! Voices 100 years on, held by UCLan’s long term partners, the People’s History Museum in Manchester between 2nd June 2018 to 2nd February 2019. Attendance is open to interested members of the public as well as academics.