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Wellington and Peel: united in opposition

Published: 
14 November 2006

The Rt Hon Lord Hurd of Westwell CH CBE PC is presenting the University of Southampton's Wellington Lecture 2006 at the Turner Sims Concert Hall on Wednesday 29 November at 6pm.

In his lecture, 'Wellington and Peel: from Tory to Conservative', Lord Hurd will describe how the years between 1832 and 1835 were a turning point in British political history.

The Duke of Wellington was opposed to the reform of parliament and defended rule by the elite. He believed that if Prime Minister Lord Grey's Great Reform Bill became law, then no gentleman would be able to pursue a political career. Sir Robert Peel, the effective leader of the Tory Party in the House of Commons, also opposed the Reform Bill, but set about changing the old Tory Party to cope with the new situation.

Lord Hurd retired as Foreign Secretary in July 1995 after a distinguished career in Government which spanned 16 years. He was at the heart of modern political decision-making, serving as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Home Secretary and then heading up the Foreign Office for six years in both Margaret Thatcher's and John Major's administrations. Lord Hurd has just finished a biography of Sir Robert Peel which will appear next June. He published his own memoirs in 2003.

The Wellington Lecture was established in 1989 and is funded through an endowment from His Excellency Manuel de Prado, Ambassador of Spain. The annual public lecture focuses on aspects of the life and times of the first Duke of Wellington and has attracted a host of distinguished speakers.

This year's Wellington Lecture is ticketed and, as the number of places is limited, early application for tickets is advised. Contact the Special Events Office on 023 8059 6827 for details of how to book tickets. There is no charge to attend.

After the lecture, the Wellington Prize 2006 will be awarded by Lord Douro, the eldest son of the Duke of Wellington, to Mark Romans for his PhD thesis on 'Professionalism and the development of military intelligence in Wellington's army, 1809 - 14'. The Prize is awarded annually to the University of Southampton student making the most notable contribution to the area of Wellington studies.

On the day of the Wellington Lecture, there will also be an opportunity to preview the University's forthcoming Special Collections exhibition 'The War Against Napoleon' in the Hartley Library on the Highfield campus between 10am and 8.30pm. The exhibition formally opens to the public on 27 November and runs until 8 December 2006.

There are strong links between the University and the Dukes of Wellington. The fourth Duke led the campaign for a university for Wessex in the 1920s and the seventh Duke was the first Chancellor of the University of Southampton. The papers of the first Duke are among the archives held in the Special Collections Division of the University Library.

Notes for editors

  1. A digital image of Lord Hurd is also available from Media Relations on request.
  2. The University of Southampton is a leading UK teaching and research institution with a global reputation for leading-edge research and scholarship. It is one of the UK's top 10 research universities, offering first-rate opportunities and facilities for study and research across a wide range of subjects in humanities, health, science and engineering. The University has around 20,000 students and over 5000 staff. Its annual turnover is in the region of £310 million.
    Further information:
    Kim Newton-Woof, Special Events Manager, University of Southampton,
    Tel. 023 8059 6827, email: knw1@soton.ac.uk,
    Sue Wilson, Media Relations, University of Southampton,
    Tel. 023 8059 5457, email: sjew@soton.ac.uk

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