Event Series

The Burrows Lecture

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The Burrows Lecture, was endowed at the University of Essex in 1966 as the result of a gift from Major J.H. Burrows who was proprietor and Managing Director of the Southend Standard group of newspapers and a Freeman of Southend.

In making his gift Major Burrows set out certain conditions regarding the lecture:

  • The subject of each lecture must always be connected with some aspect of the historical or present-day life of Essex. 
  • The lectures are given at the University of Essex by a person distinguished for their academic work in the field,
  • The lectures must be open not only to members of the University community but also to the general public, to forge new links between the University and the people of Essex. The Burrows strives to engage with the entire county. Whilst bringing audiences to the Colchester Campus, the Lecture has travelled to Southend, Chelmsford and central Colchester - reflecting the University’s academic partnerships.  

Over the years the endowment has, and continues to reflect the many-sided contribution to the public life of Essex made by members of the Burrows family, who over three generations, have been prominent in many different fields of activity – as soldier, military historian, barrister, archaeologist and farmer.  Members of the family have served as Borough and County Alderman, as Mayor of Southend, Chairman of the Essex County Council, and as Deputy Lieutenant of the County.  Since the beginning of the twentieth century, they have contributed to Essex journalism as owners, managers and editors of the Southend Standard group of newspapers and have always taken a special interest in the development of local education.

Previous lectures


Mike Levy - Essex - a first sight of freedom

On the 85th anniversary of the Kindertransport, Mike Levy told the remarkable story of this unique rescue and the role Harwich played.

In the winter of 1938, thousands of unaccompanied children arrived in the Essex port of Harwich. They were Jewish refugees fleeing persecution at the hands of the Nazis. Over 1,000 youngsters spent their first weeks and months on the Essex coast before being sent into the arms of complete strangers. Mike Levy, author of 'Get the Children Out - Unsung Heroes of the Kindertransport', tells the remarkable story of this unique rescue, a glimmer of light amidst the crushing tragedy of the Holocaust.

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2010 - 2019

2017: Dr. James Canton

J.A Baker: His Life, Works and Legacy

2014: Professor Paul Thompson

The University of Essex and Wivenhoe from 1964: Pioneering Years

2013: Richard Mabey

Edgelands of Essex

2012: Professor Peter Holman

After Byrd: Music in eighteenth-century Essex’

2011: Ken Warpole

Time and Tide: the moral theatre of the Essex shoreline

2010: Matthew Poole

From chavs to contemporary art: Anti-institutionalism and iconoclasm in Essex 

2000 - 2009

2009: Professor Jules Pretty OBE

Essex: This Luminous Coast

2008: Philip Crummy, Director of the Colchester Archaeological Trust

‘Always finding something’ Highlights of archaeology in Colchester

2007: Professor Andrew Motion, Poet Laureate

The Ashground: An Essex childhood

2006: Professor Sir Ivor Crewe, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Essex

What are universities for? Reflection on 40 years past - and ahead

2004: Simon Lyster, former Director of the Wildlife Trusts

Is there a future for Essex's Wildlife - and does it matter anyway?

2003: John Tusa, Director of the Barbican

Shoemakers to the world: The Bata Estate on the Essex Marshes, 1939-1960

2002: Professor David Cannadine, Director of the Institute for Historical Research

A Centenary of Civic Grandeur: History all Around us 

2001: Keith Turner, National Trust

Constable: his Landscapes then and now

2000: Margaret Drabble, author

Arnold Bennett: Upwardly Mobile in Thorpe-le-Soken 

1990 - 1999

1999: Graham Harvey

Reclaiming the Countryside

1996: Professor Anthony King, Department of Government, University of Essex

How will Essex Man (and Woman) vote in 1997?

1995: Margaret Gelling

Signposts to the Past - Placenames and Landscapes in Suffolk and Norfolk

1994: Professor Geoffrey Martin, Department of History, University of Essex

Some Essex Historians

1993: Dr Christopher Gibson

What Future for the Essex Coast

1992: David Cleveland, East Anglian Film Archive, University of East Anglia

Essex on Film

1991: Ruth Rendell, author

A Place in Fiction

1990: Ronald Blythe, author

The Essex Connection 

1980 - 1989

1989: Norman Scarfe

Essex seen from Suffolk - A Comparative Study of Two Counties

1988: Dr A Sutcliffe

Ice-age Mammals in Essex

1987: Anthony Howard

R A Butler

1986: Professor Stanford E. Lehmberg

An Essex Man at the Exchequer: Sir Walter Mildmay and Queen Elizabeth

1985: W.H. Liddell

From Forest of Essex to Epping Forest

1984: Nancy Briggs

The Georgian Country House in its Essex Setting

1983: Sir Nigel Strutt DSc, DL

Essex Farming in the last two Centuries

1982: Shirley Williams MP

What Chance for Jobs

1981: Bruce Kent , General Secretary, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament

Nuclear War: Survival or Prevention

1980: Colin Ward

The Essex Plotlands 

1970 - 1979

1979: Dr Arthur F.J. Brown , Department of History, University of Essex

The Chartist Movement in Essex and Suffolk

1978: Ronald Stevenson , F.R.M.C.M

Aspects of the Arts in Essex and East Anglia

1977: Dr Alan Macfarlane , King's College, Cambridge

Witchcraft in Essex

1976: Dr Paul Thompson

William Morris: Artist and Socialist

1976: Jack Lindsay

The Significance of William Morris

1975: Dr Christopher Hill

From Lollards to Levellers - Popular Radicalism in Sixteenth and Early Seventeenth Century England

1973: George Ewart Evans

Oral Tradition

1972: Professor P.W. Edwards , University of Essex

The Extinction of the Elizabethan Drama

1971: Sir Nikolaus Pevsner , Department of History of Art, Birkbeck College

English Architecture of the Age of Shakespeare

1970: Peter Willmott , Institute of Community Studies

Social Life in London and its Countryside - 2000AD 

1960 - 1969

1968: Jonathon Mayne , Victoria and Albert Museum

John Constable and East Anglia

1967: Peter Laslett , Trinity College, Cambridge

The Social Structure of an Essex Rural Community - The village of Ardleigh in 1976

1967: Maurice Cranston , Reader in Political Science, London School of Economics

Locke at Oates

1966: F.G. Emmison, Essex County Archivist

Independent or Intractable? The Essex Spirit