Victorian Cricket celebrity in guest lecture spotlight
Dr Neil Washbourne, a Senior Lecturer in the School of Cultural Studies and Humanities, will deliver the sixth talk in the Leeds Cultural Conversations series, presented by Leeds Beckett and Leeds City Council.
The event entitled, ‘W. G. Grace: Cricket Missionary to the North and Hero of 1895 (to Oscar Wilde’s Villain)’ which coincides with LGBT History Month, will take place from 12.30pm-1.30pm on Wednesday 8 February in the Albert Room of Leeds Town Hall.
Dr Washbourne said: “W. G. Grace is an enigma who is still readily referred to in contemporary sports commentary and, more generally, in public life.
“I’ll be discussing how Grace became not merely an extraordinarily talented sports star but also a cultural celebrity. He was a big cricket star and the crowds’ interest in him tied first-class cricket to the Marylebone Cricket Club and the county championship, which led to him becoming perhaps the most recognised celebrity of the later Victorian years. Like Oscar Wilde he was symbolic of his own times, but in the public eye he was the antithesis to Wilde’s decadence and criminality.”
The Leeds Cultural Conversation series also includes: ‘The trials of Oscar Wilde’s Salome: the Maud Allan libel case’ with Professor Ruth Robbins on Wednesday 8 March; ‘Verdant creativities: urban gardening and sensuous place-making in West Yorkshire with Dr Zoe Tew-Thompson and Dr Lynne Hibberd on Wednesday 5 April and ‘Measuring Morale in Second World War Leeds’ with Dr Henry Irving on Wednesday 10 May.