The Plume Lecture was established in 1975 by the Trustees of the Library, at the instigation of the Rev. Arthur Dunlop, to commemorate the life of Dr. Thomas Plume (1630 -1704) with a public lecture, held annually in the month of November. Speakers have been drawn from a wide range of disciplines, such as medicine, art, history, science and astronomy to reflect Plume’s own broad interests and the varied nature of the Library.
2021 – Libraries in the Age of Thomas Plume: Fragility and Perseverance
by Professor Andrew Pettegree and Dr Arthur der Weduwen
Thomas Plume was one of the great English collectors of the seventeenth century. Although he was not unusual in bequeathing his collection to his hometown, the longevity of his library was exceptional. In this lecture, Andrew Pettegree and Arthur der Weduwen place the Plume Library in this wider context: securing its future in an age when other institutional libraries struggled for survival, and parish and city libraries were often smaller collections than those of private collectors. This lecture will demonstrate the essential and underrated part that private collecting has played in the development of the library; and reflect upon the inherent fragility of the institutional library, in Plume’s time as in every age.
Andrew Pettegree, FBA is Professor of Modern History at the University of St Andrews and Director of the Universal Short Title Catalogue. He is the author of over a dozen books in the fields of Reformation history and the history of communication including Reformation and the Culture of Persuasion, The Book in the Renaissance, The Invention of News, and Brand Luther: 1517, Print and the Making of the Reformation.
Arthur der Weduwen is a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of St Andrews and Deputy Director of the Universal Short Title Catalogue. He researches and writes on the history of the Dutch Republic, books, news, libraries and early modern politics. He is the author of Dutch and Flemish Newspapers of the Seventeenth Century, The Bookshop of the World. Making and Trading Books in the Dutch Golden Age (co-authored with Andrew Pettegree) and two books on early newspaper advertising in the Netherlands.
The Library: A Fragile History, is published by Profile on 14 October.
7 pm, 23 October 2021 at the United Reformed Church, Market Hill
Please book seats in advance: firstname.lastname@example.org / 01621 854850. Free entry; donation box available.
Copies of The Library: A Fragile History will be on sale, together with the recent Plume biography: Dr Thomas Plume (1630-1704): His life and legacies in Essex, Kent and Cambridge.
2020 – No lecture
2019 – Nineteenth and twentieth century first edition literature.
by Neil Pearson President of the Independent Libraries Association.
2018 – Setting up libraries in the long seventeenth century
by Giles Mandelbrote, Librarian and Archivist, Lambeth Palace Library.
2017 – Seventeenth-Century Saturday Kitchen, or Hanna Woolley’s Recipes for Queen-Like Living Every Day
by Dr Lisa Smith, Lecturer, Department of History at the University of Essex, Co-editor, The Recipes Project
2016 – The Idea of a University in the Age of Thomas Plume
by Dr Richard Serjeantson, Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge University
2015 – The Church of England and the Home Front 1914 – 1918: Civilians, Soldiers and Religion in Wartime Colchester
Dr Robert Beaken parish priest of St Mary the Virgin, Great Bardfield and St Katharine, Little Bardfield in Essex
2014 – Cancelled
2013 – The Hidden Universe Revealed
Robert C. Kennicutt, Jr. FRS, Plumian Professor of Astronomy and Experimental Philosophy and Head, School of the Physical Sciences, University of Cambridge.
2012 – The Libraries of the National Trust
Mark Purcell, Libraries Curator, the National Trust
2011 – Censuses and surveys and the rise of the Information State, 1500-2011
Professor Edward Higgs, Graduate Director of the History Department, Director of the Centre for Historical Census and Survey Research, University of Essex
2010 – Witchcraft and Witchcraft Beliefs in England During the Lifetime of Thomas Plume, 1630-1704
Dr. Alison Rowlands, Senior lecturer in European history and Director of the Centre for Local and Regional History The University of Essex
2009 – Why do we need so many old books? The value of the Plume Library in the modern world
Dr David Pearson, Director of Libraries, Archives & Guildhall Art Gallery, City of London
2008 – “The Culture of Place-Making” – The Role of the Arts in Shaping Identity and Building Communities
Roy Clare CBE, Chief Executive of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council
2007 – John Evelyn: Living for Ingenuity
2006 – By Permission of Heaven: The Story of the Great Fire of London
2005 – Time Team St. Osyth Revisited: Documents and Buildings
Dr Christopher Thornton and Brenda Watkin
2004 – The Two Pepys
2003 – Nautical tales from the archives: exploration and charting in the 16th and 17th centuries
Sarah Tyacke, Chief Executive of the National Archives
2002 – Mad about Travel
2001 – Survival in Solitude
2000 – No Lecture.
1999 – The Radical Tradition
Rt Hon. Tony Benn, M.P.
1998 – The 17th Century Time Machine: antiquarians and the discovery of the past
Professor Graham Parry
1997 – The Essex World of Thomas Plume
John Walter, Director of the Local History Centre, University of Essex
1996 – Robert Boyle and the Origins of Modern Science
Professor M. Hunter, Birkbeck College
1995 – Painting in Britain in Thomas Plume’s Day
Professor L. Herrmann
1994 – The Excavations at the Roman Town Heybridge
1993 – A Peculiar Collection: the Library of Westminster Abbey
Dr Tony Trowles, Librarian
1992 – 3rd Lord Rayleigh, Victorian Scientific Genius
B. Gruhn & A. Humphrey
1991 – To the Edge of the Universe
Professor A. Boksenberg, Director of the Royal Greenwich Observatory
1990 – Dr Plume & the World of Collecting
1989 – Medical Practice in 17th & 18th Century Essex
Dr M. Neave
1988 – If Books could speak: Tales of the Old Town Library
Dr J. Blatchly, Librarian, Ipswich Town Library
1987 – Behind the Scenes at the BBC
Derek Robinson, BBC Engineering Information Department
1986 – Thomas Hooker: Father of American Democracy
Revd Deryck Collingwood
1985 – Pepys the Collector
R. Latham, Librarian, Pepys Library
1984 – The World of Books
Miss Christina Foyle
1983 – Exploring the Universe
Professor James Ring, Imperial College
1982 – Honey & Wormwood: the voice from the Pulpit in Dr Plume’s Day
V. Gray, Essex County Archivist
1981 – The Intentions of Thomas Plume
Dr W. J. Petchey
1980 – Dr Plume’s World of Science
Dr Ludmilla Jordonova, Essex University
1979 – Facts at your Fingertips
John Laidlaw, Librarian, Post Office Research Centre
1978 – Life without Gravity – Man’s Future in Space
Dr Heinz Wolff
1977 – Aircraft, Birdflight & Radar
Sir Eric Eastwoood
1976 – Stars & the Universe
Professor Martin Rees, Plumian Professor
1975 – Radio Waves
George Millington, FRS