Bagehot Memorial Fund

 The Bagehot Memorial Fund has been set up by the Langport Town Trust to finance two major continuing tasks:

 

1.    To refurbish & maintain the Bagehot family grave-site in Langport’s old parish churchyard, which is in disrepair. 

2.    To commemorate in other ways, locally and beyond, the life and work of Walter Bagehot as Langport’s most famous citizen.

  
THE BAGEHOT FAMILY GRAVES
 
 
Bagehot family graves

Bagehot’s family gravesite is a Grade II listed monument.  The weight of the substantial stonework is putting a significant strain on the adjacent churchyard wall.  Langport Town Council has recently repaired the wall, which was in danger of collapse, but it has no legal responsibility for the graves themselves.  The necessary repair and maintenance of Bagehot’s grave is estimated to cost £10,000.

 

 
 
COMMEMORATING BAGEHOT

 

There is very little in Langport to commemorate Bagehot.  We want to remedy that by, for example, providing literature about Bagehot’s life and work, and signage in and around the town.  We plan to consult the local community about how best to commemorate him in these and other more innovative ways.  Our publicity and their suggestions will raise awareness of his achievements and build support for more tangible memorials which will be of lasting value and interest.

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LATEST NEWS

PRESS RELEASE

 

STEADY PROGRESS FOR BAGEHOT FUND

 

Thursday 3 April 2014: for immediate release

 

At its latest meeting today, the Bagehot Memorial Fund confirmed its plans for the provision of further interpretation boards in Langport on Walter Bagehot, and for the third annual Bagehot Debate to be held during the 2014 Langport Festival this spring.

 

Interpretation boards

The Fund has been in discussions with the relevant interested parties about its plans for interpretation boards for Bank Chambers, Walter Bagehot’s birthplace, and at All Saints’ Churchyard on The Hill, where Bagehot is buried.  “The Fund would love to produce instant results,” said Fund chair, Barry Winetrobe, “but we recognise that we have to go through the necessary planning and related processes to ensure that what results from our efforts will be widely welcomed by the local community, and will preserve and enhance Langport’s heritage and environment.” 

 

Annual Bagehot debate

The third Bagehot debate, a flagship event of the annual Langport Festival in June, will feature Ruth Dudley Edwards, the noted journalist and novelist, and Donald Shell, a noted political scientist and former Senior Lecturer in Politics at Bristol University, supported by two star student debaters from Huish Episcopi Academy.   It will take place in the Sixth Form Main Hall of the Academy on the evening of Saturday 7 June 2014.  Donald Shell will support the motion that "Mass communication is the enemy of truth and knowledge", derived from an 1873 essay by Bagehot, and Ruth Dudley Edwards will oppose the motion.

 

Barry said, “We are delighted not only to have two such experienced guest speakers coming to Langport for this Debate, but also that Huish Academy have made their superb facilities available for it.  Such local community involvement is important to the Fund, and we look forward to what should be a great evening in June.”  

 

PR13 3.4.14





PRESS RELEASE


 


FUTURE BAGEHOT ACTIVITIES ANNOUNCED


 


Thursday 30 January 2014: for immediate release


 


As the anniversary of Walter Bagehot’s birth on 3 February approaches, the Bagehot Memorial Fund has announced a range of plans and activities for the coming months which will further mark the life and work of the great Langport writer.


 


Interpretation boards


The Bagehot Memorial Fund is planning a new interpretation board, to be installed on Bank Chambers in Cheapside, Langport, the birthplace of Walter Bagehot.  It will be professionally designed, and will be a companion to the successful board on Bagehot, installed in the Walter Bagehot Town Garden last year.  “This new board will focus on Bagehot the banker, including his role in Stuckey’s Bank, and his writings on banking and finance,” said Barry Winetrobe, chair of the Bagehot Memorial Fund.  “His work as a local banker, dealing with the financial needs of the likes of the Clarks Shoe Company of Street, laid the practical foundation for his writings on these subjects, the influence of which still resonates to this contemporary age of banking panics and financial crises.  It is important that Langport properly commemorates this aspect of its most famous citizen.”


 


The Fund also agreed in principle to plan a further interpretation board at All Saints’ Church on The Hill, where Bagehot is buried.


 


Annual Bagehot debate


The third Bagehot debate, a flagship event of the annual Langport Festival in June, will feature Jacob Rees-Mogg, Conservative MP for North  East Somerset, and Ruth Dudley Edwards, the noted journalist and novelist, supported by two star student debaters from Huish Episcopi Academy.   The motion for debate will be "Mass communication is the enemy of truth and knowledge", derived from an 1873 essay by Bagehot.  Jacob Rees-Mogg will support the motion, and Ruth Dudley Edwards will speak against it.  The debate will be held in Langport on the evening of Saturday 7 June 2014.


 


“We are delighted to have two such high-profile and erudite guest speakers to debate this motion,” said Barry.  “With the able support of the student debaters, as was so clearly demonstrated at last year’s Debate, this year’s event should be the best yet of what is already becoming a highlight of the local calendar.”   


 


Public exhibition


On the same day, Saturday 7 June, the Fund will be holding an open day at Hurds Hill, the former Bagehot family home just outside Langport, where the public will be welcome to view exhibits from the Fund’s growing collection of Bagehotiana.  Barry commented, “The owners of Hurds Hill, Clifford Lee and David Holmes, have been strong supporters of the Fund since Day 1, and they have generously made their home available to the public for this Fund event.”


 


New publication


 The Fund can also announce that a new edition of A Voice of Sanity: Walter Bagehot 1826-1877 is now available for sale to the public. It is a fascinating appreciation of Bagehot’s life and work, originally written in 1996 by Gordon Lee, a senior editor at The Economist.  With a new introduction by a recent editor of The Economist, Bill Emmott, and a foreword by Barry on behalf of the Fund, A Voice of Sanity is an indispensable primer on Bagehot.  It costs £5 (plus P&P) and can be bought directly from the Fund using the form on its website, www.bagehotlangport.co.uk.



PR12 30.1.14






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PRESS RELEASE


 

‘FULL SPEED AHEAD’ FOR BAGEHOT FUND IN 2014

 

Friday 29 November 2013: for immediate release

 

It’s full speed ahead for plans to commemorate Walter Bagehot in his home town of Langport, and worldwide.  Recent publicity in the national and international media has boosted interest and support for the Bagehot Memorial Fund.  The Fund has now approved plans to hold its third annual Bagehot Debate next spring; to sell copies of a newly revised edition of a classic appreciation of Bagehot’s life and work, and to press ahead with the production of interpretative material and heritage trails about Bagehot in the Langport area.

 

“This is an exciting time for the Fund” said its Chair, Barry Winetrobe.  “We have all been delighted at the positive response to our Fund in its first couple of years, but these new initiatives show that the Fund has become firmly established.  We can now confidently build on this solid foundation to achieve our aims of commemorating the life and work of Walter Bagehot.”

 

The Fund’s activities were the subject of a double-page feature in the Independent a few weeks ago, and of a series of adverts in the national and international editions of The Economist, the journal which Bagehot edited with such lustre in the late 19th century.

 

Recent historical research on Bagehot by the Fund in the USA has revealed more about the extent of Bagehot’s influence on President Woodrow Wilson. “We knew of Wilson’s writings on Bagehot and his pilgrimage to Bagehot’s grave in Langport in 1896, and have recorded this on our website and in the splendid interpretation board in the Walter Bagehot Town Garden,” said Barry, “but looking at material in the National Archives in Washington and at the marvellous Wilson Presidential Library in Virginia, we discovered much more, including a second visit to Langport, in 1899.”

 

The Fund can also announce that a new edition of A Voice of Sanity: Walter Bagehot 1826-1877 will soon be available. This is a short appreciation of Bagehot’s life and work, originally written in 1996 by Gordon Lee, a senior editor at The Economist.  With a new introduction by a recent editor of The Economist, Bill Emmott, and a foreword by Barry on behalf of the Fund, A Voice of Sanity will be an indispensable primer on Bagehot. 

 

Star debating students from Huish Episcopi Academy will again feature in next year’s Bagehot Debate, a flagship event of the

annual Langport Festival.  Barry said, “Their involvement in the 2013 Debate in June was a highlight of the event, and the two debaters were praised by the audience and their fellow debaters alike.  The Fund has shown its commitment to young people in the local community by donating a Walter Bagehot Trophy to the Academy to be awarded annually to its ‘debater of the year’.

 

Other events for the coming year include the production of interpretative material and heritage trails about Bagehot in the Langport area; a proposed guided Bagehot Walk in the spring around the sites of Bagehot interest in the Langport area; temporary public exhibitions of the Fund’s growing collection of ‘Bagehotiana’, and activities engaging the local community in the Fund’s work and plans.

  

PR11 29.11.13