Sir John Major delivers inaugural lecture in Salisbury.

On 17th June 2015 Sir John Major, former prime minister delivered an inaugural Sir Edward Heath Lecture at Salisbury’s very own Guildhall. With Salisbury holding the 800th year celebrations of the Magna Carta this year at the Cathedral, the topic of lecture was to be ‘The meaning and lessons of the Magna Carta Today’ and would be delivered directly to an invited audience of over 200 local people including Dame Shirley Williams and David Steele both ex MP’s.

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Foundation trustees established the lecture as an upcoming opportunity for respected speakers to explore the subject of importance to Sir Edward and to his personal interests in the legacy of the Magna Carta itself.

Sir John Major spoke about why he delivered the first ever Edward Heath Lecture, commenting “I was delighted to be invited to deliver the first Edward Heath Lecture in Salisbury, the City that he loved and made his home, and in the fiftieth anniversary year of his winning the Conservative Party leadership. As our first leader to come from a non-privileged background, his election marked an important step change for our Party.

 As Prime Minister, at what was a very difficult time for Britain, Sir Edward’s central legacy was entry into the European Common Market.  But his administration was also marked out by his courageous, albeit ultimately unsuccessful, attempts to reform Britain's destructive industrial relations and to bring power sharing to Northern Ireland.  I, myself, was especially impressed by his honorable and civilized decision to face down opposition, and to fulfil Britain's obligation to admit the Ugandan Asians.”

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Sir John’s visit to Salisbury commenced in the afternoon, with a tour of Edward Heath’s former home, Arundell’s. Sir John was welcomed into the outstandingly beautiful house by a recital by the senior boys of Bishop Wordsworth Grammar School, played using Sir Edwards very own piano.

We were employed by Arundell’s to carry out the photography of the Edward Heath lecture and Sir John Major’s visit to Salisbury and were very honored and more than happy to take on the privilege of working with Arrundell’s ensuring Sir John’s visit to be as pleasant and welcoming as could be. We spent 5 hours in the company of Sir John and the trustees of Arundell are working closely with them to capture the magical significance of the delivery of the first every Edward Heath lecture.

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 Although hired by Arundell’s to photograph the event, we were also honored to be present and hear Sir John speak on the history. We found ourselves drawn to his voice as he spoke regarding the Magna Carta and Edwards Heath’s passion and drive for the subject, although under pressure for such a high VIP event we found that the atmosphere surrounding ourselves as commercial photographers to be pleasant and easy to work with, all aspects covering our photography were easily handled and in return received good quality and true to life pictures of the glowing atmosphere that surrounded me whilst Sir John Major delivered his lecture.

 

Magna Carta: Spirit of Justice, Power of Words

  Magna Carta: Spirit of Justice, Power of Words – an interactive exhibition for a Great Charter opens at Salisbury Cathedral

Magna CartaSalisbury Cathedral - home to the finest preserved of the four original copies of Magna Carta - celebrates the 800th anniversary of the historic charter as it launches a new exhibition telling the story of its creation and enduring legacy. The new exhibit takes visitors on a journey of liberty and justice woven throughout the Cathedral, medieval cloisters and stunning 13th-century Chapter House.

The interactive and immersive design brings to life the history and the contemporary relevance of this extraordinary document, which is often seen as representing the foundation of modern human rights and of the justice system we recognise today.

The varied elements of the exhibition are intended to encourage a response, from the digital display of spinning globes that exposes statistics on human rights, to the medieval sword that visitors can try out. The exhibition has been designed to appeal to families and younger audiences as well as the Cathedral’s many international visitors, using media installations, simple interactives, objects and stylish graphics.

Stretched Skin ParchmentSalisbury Cathedral’s copy of Magna Carta is re-housed in a dramatic new enclosure, befitting its international significance, and other manuscript treasures from the Cathedral’s archive are displayed. There is also new interpretation of the ornate medieval frieze which visitors can follow round the Chapter House. More is revealed about the historical characters linked to Salisbury who shaped the creation and early years of Magna Carta, whilst contemporary reflections on the meaning of Magna Carta are provided through an thought-provoking documentary made in partnership with local students and Bournemouth University.

Supported through a grant of £415,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), Salisbury Cathedral aims to use the 800th anniversary year to find new ways to engage visitors with the Magna Carta and its themes.

150227-MagnaCarta-8423The Dean of Salisbury, the Very Revd June Osborne, said:

“So many of the liberties that we hold dear today – and perhaps sometimes take for granted – can be traced back to Magna Carta. Despite its age the document has clearly gained in relevance for a modern audience, and there is a tangible sense of anticipation as we open this new exhibition and launch the 800th anniversary celebrations in Salisbury. I know that the many visitors who will come to Salisbury Cathedral to experience this exhibition will be excited and engaged by what they find and hope they will go away inspired by Magna Carta’s enduring values of fairness, universal rights and justice.”

The Very Revd June Osborne and Simon Timms, Chair of Heritage Lottery Fund South West Committee

Simon Timms, Chair of Heritage Lottery Fund South West Committee, said:

“In today’s world an understanding of justice and human freedoms is of paramount importance, so the Heritage Lottery Fund is delighted to support Salisbury Cathedral’s ambitious plans to celebrate Magna Carta in its 800th year.

"It will be a thrilling experience for visitors to come face to face with Salisbury's copy of Magna Carta in the new exhibition. And we are very impressed with the wide-ranging programme of events that the Cathedral is arranging during 2015 to give everyone this opportunity".

Exhibition designers Haley Sharpe Design (hsd), creators of ‘Magna Carta: Spirit of Justice, Power of Words’ embraced the challenge of interpreting the Charter as widely as possible. Oriel Wilson, project consultant, hsd, said:

“Our creative design work had to incorporate a range of site-specific media solutions. We have worked carefully within the stunning and sensitive interiors of the Cathedral to develop an exhibition that we believe will appeal to a wide visitor profile with tactile hands-on activities to give visitors the feel of medieval life and touchscreen displays that allow people to explore the continued fight for justice and human rights in the 21st century.”

Spirit of Justice, Power of Words, the exhibition, will be formally opened by Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum on 6 March after which he will deliver a lecture entitled ‘Making the Magna Carta We Want: The Unintended Meanings of an Icon’. Following a successful build and testing period, the exhibition will be open to the public from, Saturday 28 February, a week earlier than expected.