This year I have been invited to give two public lectures, each addressing the life of a particular parliamentarian. Later this year, I shall be giving another Speaker’s Lecture at Westminster, this time on the remarkable Independent MP, Eleanor Rathbone. The other I shall be giving later this month, as part of the University of Hull Founder’s Day Celebration, taking place on 23 April at Holy Trinity Church, Hull.
For the lecture, I have chosen the subject of the University’s founder, Thomas Ferens (pictured), a great philanthropist and businessman. Without him, there would not be a University of Hull, or at least not one about to celebrate its 90th anniversary and certainly not one located on Cottingham Road in Hull. (Without Ferens’ endowment, no building would have been possible.) He was also a parliamentarian, serving as Liberal MP for East Hull. He was elected in the Liberal landslide of 1906 and served until defeated in the ‘coupon’ election of 1918. What he did for the city of Hull in terms of its cultural and educational life is fairly well known, and variously commemorated in the names of buildings and streets. Less well known is what he did at Westminster. The lecture explores his work as a parliamentarian.
There will also be singing as part of the Celebration. The good news is that none of it is by me. More details of the event are on the University website here.