Saturday 28 February 2009

Origin of Universe Finally Explained

Sorry that should read origin of the explained at yesterday's well attended Lab in Siobhan Begley's beautifully elegant, and eloquent, lecture.
The University of Leicester, founded in 1921, had its origins in the coming together of four great associations - the Literary and Philosophical Society, founded in the 1830s to reunite the town's middle classes after years of sectarian strife; the Leicester Ladies' Reading Society, founded in 1869 because women members were not allowed in the Lit & Phil; Rev David Vaughan's Working Men's College, founded in 1862 on Christian Socialist principles (and still a key part of the University as the Institute for Lifelong Learning); and The National Council of Women, founded in 1897 to coordinate charitable projects in the town.
So, two men's associations and two women's associations created your University - nothing to do with AHRC or ESRC or HEFCE or any of that bureaucratic crew, and everything to do with what was local, practical, and visionary. Thankyou Siobhan.
As well, Tim Davies returned to his old stamping ground to explain his work on (what he managed to say between mouthfuls of cake as) 'Self help Self health'. Very soon we were right up against the internal organs of the Victorian bourgeoisie and the pills potions and powders and balms that were sold to stop them hurting so much - or should that be 'splurting' so much?
So, as the sun set over the Lab and we scaled the heights of Leicester's ambition to build a new Universe in its midst (a la Begley), so we remembered the swollen gums, inflated stomachs and crushed kidneys of those who made it so. Thankyou Tim for such a timely reminder of the material basis of History. And over to you Tristram...