What’s on : Lectures

John Bowes Morrell, 1873-1963

29 Nov 2011
Start time
7:30 PM
Tempest Anderson Hall
Dr Katherine A Webb

Event Information

John Bowes Morrell, 1873-1963
Joint lecture with the Sheldon Memorial Trust
Dr Katherine A Webb, Borthwick Institute, University of York

J B Morrell was one of York’s greatest benefactors. He was a director of Rowntree and Co, Chairman of Westminster Press, Chairman of the Joseph Rowntree Social Service Trust, Chairman of the City’s Finance Committee and twice Lord Mayor. He founded York Conservation Trust, promoted the York Castle Museum, supported the development of York Art Gallery, produced several books on York’s history and architecture, and was one of the key figures in the foundation of the University of York. The lecture aims to explore J B Morrell’s immense legacy and show how this played a vital role in shaping the identity of modern York.

by Carole Smith

This remarkable man – gifted, principled, sensitive and, above all, capable – was one of a group of like-minded men, many of them quakers, responsible for saving and conserving much of the heritage that York now takes for granted.

Variously councillor, alderman and Lord Mayor, he promoted local cultural projects such as the Castle Museum, the city library and the art gallery; he chaired the Shambles Area Conservation Committee; he restructured local government in the city; he advocated sensitive town planning, the slum clearances, the development of roads such as Davygate and Piccadilly, a new bridge at Clifton; and, not least, York University whose library is named after him. Many local societies owe much to him: the York Conservation Trust (which owns the buildings he purchased to save them from destruction), the York Civic Trust, YAYAS, the Georgian Society and, of course, the YPS.

He turned down a knighthood. “Few men have served York as faithfully … he sought nothing for himself”.

Sponsored by Sheldon Memorial Trust