Penny Lectures

Morley’s rich history actually predates the founding of the college itself…instead it began in 1882 with a series of ‘Penny Lectures’ at the Old Vic Theatre in Waterloo.

The lectures were organised by eventual college founder Emma Cons, with the first lecture entitled: “The Telephone, or How to Talk to a Man a Hundred Miles Away”.

Subsequent early lectures covered a wide range of interesting subjects such as “Why is the Sea Salty?”, “Curiosities of Insect Life” and “Microscopic Wonders of the Sea.”

Topics were chosen to encourage new thinking and ideas and provided illustrated lectures at affordable prices…just a penny! The lectures were a huge success, quickly developing into evening classes and the later establishment of the “Morley Memorial College for Working Men and Women”.   

The lectures continued sporadically into the early 1960s, and in anticipation and celebration of the college’s 125th anniversary we revived the Penny Lectures for a new generation of adults to enjoy and be inspired by.

Entry to the lectures themselves has remained at the original cost of one penny (sometimes even less!) to reflect our founder’s vision of making adult education accessible to all and our ongoing mission to lead excellent, distinctive and inspiring adult education.  

If you are interested or know anyone who would be interested in hosting a Penny Lecture please email events@morleycollege.ac.uk.

Holst at 150: re-assessing his achievement

Gustav Holst’s best friend and fellow composer Ralph Vaughan Williams described him as “a great composer, a great teacher, and a great friend”. This shone through Holst’s time as Director of Music at Morley from 1907-1924.

This talk will reassess Holst’s achievement throughout his career, and his lasting legacy.

Date: 15 May 2024

Click here to register for the Penny Lecture.

Design with Nature

Kristina Roszynski and Carol Costello, partners at Cullinan Studio, will discuss recent projects including Marlborough Sports Garden with a focus on the World Earth Day theme of Planet vs Plastics and our collaboration with London South Bank University on energy projects research.

Date: 23 April 2024

Click here to register for the Penny Lecture.

Powerful stories, improves the health of elders

Eli Anderson dives into the feature of our Western society, that older people, are disproportionately affected by mental health, isolation, ill health, lack of support, and access to resources that may improve their lives.

Date: 9 May 2024

Click here to register for the Penny Lecture.

Dates for your diary