The GE Moore Lecture Series

To mark its 400th anniversary the College created the GE Moore Lecture Series, named after one of its most influential Old Alleynians and who was also the subject of the first lecture in 2014. Each lecture reflects an aspect of the College’s life and history. The fifteenth and final lecture in October 2019 brings the GE Moore series full circle, with two talks about the work of his brother, and fellow OA, Thomas Sturge Moore (1870-1944), poet, dramatist and wood-engraver.

Prof AC Grayling

GE Moore & the Order of Merit

19 November 2014

As one of the founders of analytic philosophy, GE Moore (1873–1958) must count as one of the most influential philosophers of the 20th century. According to Keynes, his most famous book Principia Ethica provided the Bloomsbury Group with their religion; he is associated with bringing a common-sense approach to philosophical problems. Moore attended Dulwich College 1882-1892 and in 1951 he was awarded the Order of Merit.

This three-part lecture on GE Moore’s life and work featured Prof AC Grayling on ‘Moore’s Philosophy’, Dr Jan Piggott on ‘Moore at Dulwich’ and Stanley Martin CVO on the ‘Order of Merit and Moore’.

John Reading portrait painting

‘Light, Airy, Jiggy Tunes’: The Music of John Reading

20 March 2015

John Reading was Fellow Organist of Dulwich College 1700-1702 and a founder member of the Royal Society of Musicians. The Reading Manuscripts, held in the Dulwich College Archive, are of international significance and have much to tell us about the musical life of London in the eighteenth century.  

At this lecture Dr John Carnelly, Deputy Director of Music at Dulwich College, and organist Christian Wilson provided a glimpse of what it was to be a professional musician at this time, performing, composing and teaching in the most prosperous capital in Europe.

James Caird Antartic Expedition

Shackleton & the James Caird

6 October 2015

Sir Ernest Shackleton OA (1874-1922) was an Anglo-Irish Antarctic explorer and best known for leading the Imperial Trans-Antarctic expedition of 1914-16.

In a two-part lecture, Seb Coulthard, expedition engineer on the 2013 recreation of Shackleton’s epic voyage from Elephant Island to South Georgia, provided a fascinating insight into the challenges that Shackleton and his men faced. Simon Stephens, curator of the Ship Model and Boat Collections at the National Maritime Museum, spoke about the conservation and further travels of the James Caird

There was also an opportunity to see the James Caird in its new home in The Laboratory, as well as artefacts from the Endurance exhibition.

Painting of Barry Buildings

The Barrys – the other Victorian architectural dynasty

14 March 2016

The New Dulwich College was built on its 70-acre site on Dulwich Common in the 1860s. The main building was designed by Charles Barry Jnr in a style which he called ‘Northern Italian of the Thirteenth Century’. Sir George Gilbert Scott was a prolific Victorian Gothic architect and founder of a successful architectural dynasty; he has been called the ‘unsung hero of British architecture’ and, although it was not always admired, his style touched every aspect of British life.

Writer, art historian and broadcaster Dan Cruickshank explored the world of the Barry and Scott architectural dynasties in the 150th anniversary year of Charles Barry Junior’s ‘New College’ at Dulwich College.

MS V11 f9r

Philip Henslowe & Edward Alleyn: theatrical impresarios in the age of Shakespeare

24 May 2016

The papers of Philip Henslowe and his step son-in-law Edward Alleyn at Dulwich College constitute the world’s single largest archive of records on English theatres and drama in the age of Marlowe, Shakespeare, Jonson, Middleton and their contemporaries.

In this lecture Professor Grace Ioppolo looked at the vast range of theatrical enterprises of Henslowe and Alleyn, as well as their unprecedented access to royal, clerical and local London officials, and their collaboration with the leading dramatists, actors and other theatre personnel of the time. By drawing on documents in the Dulwich College archive, she argued that what we think of as ‘Shakespearean theatre’ was largely created by Henslowe and Alleyn.

Agrippa square

Belief, Doubt and Atheism in the Age of Alleyn, Marlowe and Shakespeare

10 October 2016

The English word ‘atheist’ was first coined in 1561 and, for a century or more, England was in a full-blown panic about ‘atheism’, a charge levelled at people ranging from Christopher Marlowe to Queen Elizabeth I. It was associated with lurid tales of sexual depravity, moral anarchy and dangerous radicalism.

Professor Alec Ryrie OA, Department of Theology and Religion at Durham University, explored how and why some people came to entertain or be seduced by religious doubt in a supposed Age of Faith.

Prior to the lecture there was a practical demonstration by Karen Howell, Curator and Herb Archivist of The Old Operating Theatre Museum and Herb Garret at St Thomas’s Hospital.

Enigma Machine

Dulwich in World War Two: The Japanese connection and Enigma

6 March 2017

In December 1941 Japan went to war with Britain and America. At the time few people in Britain knew much about Japan, or could speak its language. To help solve the problem the government turned to a bunch of bright schoolboys who began an 18-month course studying at SOAS during the day and boarding at Dulwich.

BBC News Correspondent Nick Higham explored the role Dulwich played in developing a group of young men trained in Japanese who helped prosecute the war in the Pacific, often through intelligence work.

Tom Briggs, Education Manager with the Bletchley Park Trust, displayed the complexities of a working Enigma machine and demonstrated how to break a code.

Dulwich Picture Gallery

Dulwich: A College, a Gallery and a Nation’s appreciation of Art

8 June 2017

This lecture marked the bicentenary of the opening of Sir John Soane’s Dulwich College Picture Gallery to the public by bringing together three of Britain’s most eminent gallery directors.

Jennifer Scott, Sackler Director of Dulwich Picture Gallery, chaired a lively and wide-ranging conversation with Dr Gabriele Finaldi OA, Director of the National Gallery, and Dr Xavier Bray, former Curator of Dulwich Picture Gallery and now Director of the Wallace Collection.

All three directors have current and historical associations with Dulwich, and the topics explored by them and the audience ranged from the importance of art in education to the purpose of galleries and role of art in British society today.

Dusters cricket match

Played in Dulwich – Charting the heritage and future of an estate at play

5 October 2017

In his book Played in London - Charting the Heritage of a City at Play, author and historian Simon Inglis mapped the development of the 1,500 acres of Edward Alleyn’s College of God’s Gift. This lecture explored the concentration of sports grounds, and a range of sports quite possibly unmatched in urban Britain, with Dulwich College at the heart of this sports-scape.

In the second part of the evening Daniel Norcross OA, inventor of ‘Test Match Sofa’, talked about the future of cricket, especially at school and club level, the challenges it faces and the future of engagement.

Performers climbing stairs in We're Here installation

Reflections on the Great War

13 March 2018

The 10th GE Moore lecture marked the 100th anniversary year of the end of the Great War.

Dr Nick Black, Head of Middle School at Dulwich College, presented the new website which records the lives and service of the 531 Old Alleynians who died during the conflict and opens up the wealth of material in the College archives to a wider audience.

Turner Prize-winning artist, Jeremy Deller OA, discussed his modern memorial ‘We’re here because we’re here’ which marked the centenary of the start of the Battle of the Somme and captured the imagination of many throughout the country.

The evening staged an excerpt from the play Wiper’s Times by pupils then looked at the significance of the trench newspaper with a discussion between Private Eye’s Nick Newman and film producer David Parfitt on the story of the newspaper itself, as well as how it was rediscovered and turned into a film and play.

Anthony Kersting sitting on rocks

Anthony Kersting OA

20 June 2018

The 11th GE Moore lecture series was devoted to the work of the eminent architectural photographer Anthony Kersting OA. Kersting discovered his love of photography whilst at Dulwich College in the 1930s and some of these early prints are still in his collection, marked with his Form number.

In this two-part lecture Tim Bilson, Head of Digital Media at the Courtauld Institute of Art, talked about the Kersting collection and questions that arise from an analysis of his work. ‘Return to Kurdistan’ was the title of the lecture by Richard Wilding, also a photographer, who spoke about Kersting's photographs in Iraq 1944-46 and how this has inspired his own work there.

Barry Buildings with pupils in early 20 Century

Dulwich College: a Cradle of Writers?

4 October 2018

It is widely known that PG Wodehouse was a proud old boy of Dulwich College. It is less known that Raymond Chandler, CS Forester and Dennis Wheatley were also alumni. Or that two Booker prize winning writers, Michael Ondaatje and Graham Swift, attended the school in the 1950s and ‘60s. And that Booker-nominated Tom McCarthy (‘C’ ) and Tom Rob Smith (Child 44) followed them in the 1980s and 90s.

At this lecture three OA writers, Patrick Humphries (1963-69), Simon Brett OBE (1957-64) and Tom Robb Smith (1987–97) were in conversation with the Master, Dr Joe Spence, regarding their own works and the rich vein of novelists who have been through the College, as well as the reasons why it might have produced a disproportionate number of eminent authors over the past 120 years.

The Quatercentenary Book Series

The Laboratory and South Block

Restoration and Innovation

4 March 2019

The thirteenth GE Moore Lecture was a reflection and celebration of architect Charles Barry’s work, the recent restoration of Charles Barry Junior’s iconic Dulwich College buildings and the genesis for Grimshaw Architects’ award-winning Laboratory.

Dr Joe Spence, Master of Dulwich College, welcomed Dr Caroline Shenton, historian of the Houses of Parliament, Julian Harrap, whose company Julian Harrap Architects has been central to the restoration of the Barry Buildings, and Jolyon Brewis of Grimshaw Architects, designers of The Laboratory.

At the end of the evening Dr Spence and Gerard Stamp, renowned artist and brother of architectural historian Gavin Stamp OA, revealed the newly commissioned Dulwich College 400 (2018), painted some 150 years after Pissarro captured the buildings that in 1871 were referred to as the New College.

Gerard Stamp 400th Anniversary Print

Film projector

Dulwich goes to the Cinema

17 June 2019

As part of the Dulwich Film Festival, world-renowned film historian David Thomson OA cast an eye over the many OAs associated with the world of cinema, reminding the Alleynians in the audience that their school was founded by an actor and the man who created the role of Faustus in 1593.

Following the lecture there was a free screening of A Matter of Life and Death, a supreme example of the work of Michael Powell OA and Emeric Pressburger. The film was technically ambitious, including a broad escalator linking Earth to the afterlife. It is considered one of the greatest films ever made, ranked 20th by the British Film Institute’s list of the Best 100 British Films.

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