Victorian Symposium: Celebrating 150 Years

As part of its 150th anniversary celebrations Keble College is hosting a symposium on Wednesday 25 September 2019 in its recently completed H B Allen Centre, the new graduate centre and research facility at 26 Banbury Road. The aim of the symposium, organised by Ian Archer and Angus Hawkins, is to look at the forces and personalities behind the foundation of the College. Part of that story is to be found in the controversial religious politics of the period; part of it in the question of the relationship of the wider University to new social and intellectual currents. Raising the money involved the mobilisation of some significant big hitters like the Gibbs family, but it also required novel fund raising tactics. In choosing William Butterfield as an architect and in adopting brick as the key building material, the College made a statement of boldness of difference. Far from being a reactionary project, the first Warden, Edward Talbot and his wife Lavinia played a key role the movement from which Lady Margaret Hall emerged.

Provisional Programme:

1030 Coffee and welcome

1100 Josh Bennett, ‘Keble, Newman, and the Tractarian Mind’
Simon Skinner, ‘The fashioning of John Keble’
Elisabeth Jay, ‘The poetry of John Keble’

1230 Jane Garnett, ‘Who’s who, and waha’s what: Lavinia Talbot and Kebel College’
Frances Lannon, ‘The Talbots and Lady Margaret Hall’

1330 Lunch

1430 Angus Hawkins, ‘Politics and the religious conscience in 1870’
Ian Archer, ‘Raising the money’
Hazel Mills, ‘Girton, 1869: founding dynamics in the other place’

1600 Tea

1630 Nicholas Olsberg, ‘Keystone of the Social Arch: the Educational Architecture of William Butterfield’
Faye McLeod and Roger Boden, ‘‘Through sleep and darkness safely brought: Restor’d to life and power and thought’: the Hall restoration project’
William Whyte, ‘Keble and the wider world’

1800 Wine reception

There is a very modest registration fee of £15 which will include lunch and a wine reception on How High Terrace with its spectacular views over the University’s Observatory Quarter.

For further details and to book a place, please visit