Bloomsbury, Maconochie and Gissing
Bloomsbury project Conference hears from Hugh Clout and Richard Dennis
Professor Hugh Clout and Dr Richard Dennis gave lectures at the Second Annual Bloomsbury Project Conference, held on June 16th at the Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine.
Hugh spoke about 'Alexander Maconochie: Britain's first professor of Geography' and stressed that, as well as spending a short time as an academic at UCL (1833-36), Captain Maconochie had a distinguished early career as a naval officer, was founding Secretary of the Royal Geographical Society, and later Commandant of the Norfolk Island penal colony in the Pacific Ocean. He spent his latter years as a campaigner for reforming the treatment of prisoners. Largely forgotten by geographers outside UCL, his name is still held in respect in penal studies.
Richard's lecture was entitled 'Henry Ryecroft meets Henry Maitland: George Gissing in and on Bloomsbury'. Using evidence from the novels and the life of George Gissing, Richard evoked the character of Victorian Bloomsbury. His presentation, which forms part of his on-going project on Gissing and London, was supported by a selection of quotations from the author's books and an array of contemporary maps, some of which focused on Gower Place, close to the Department's Pearson Building.
The Third Annual Bloomsbury Conference will be held this time next year.