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A close-up of the Rose Bowl, City Campus


W. G. Grace: Cricket Missionary to the North and Hero of 1895 (to Oscar Wilde’s Villain)

The sixth talk in the Leeds Cultural Conversations 2016/17 series which coincides with LGBT History Month.

Presented by Dr Neil Washbourne. 

W. G. Grace is an enigma who is still readily referred to in contemporary sports commentary and, more generally, in public life. How did Grace become not merely an extraordinarily talented sports star but also a cultural celebrity? The talk will cover how he became a big cricket star, how the crowds’ interest in him tied first-class cricket to the MCC and the county championship, and how he became perhaps the most recognised celebrity of the later Victorian years. Like Oscar Wilde he was symbolic of his own times, but in the public eye he was the antithesis to Wilde’s decadence and criminality.


The talk was filmed by Tomaso Aramini, a student from the Northern Film School.

This event is part of the Leeds Cultural Conversations series, presented by Leeds Beckett University and Leeds City Council. Leeds Cultural Conversations are a series of monthly talks programmed by the Centre for Culture & the Arts at Leeds Beckett University. For more information on the series please visit

Event Details

8 February 2017 -
8 February 2017
12:30 - 13:30
Albert Room, Leeds Town Hall, Leeds LS1 3AD
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