For Heritage Open Days, join historian Alison Twells for a walk exploring Edward Carpenter’s connections with Sheffield, with a particular focus on his socialist political activities and his life as a gay man.
Edward Carpenter (1844-1929) was an important cultural figure in late 19th- and early 20th-century Britain. He supported socialism, anarchism, women’s suffrage, vegetarianism, clothes reform, teetotalism, housing reform and the campaign for clean air. He opposed imperialism, vivisection, war and capital punishment. Carpenter formed and lived in a community at Millthorpe, Derbyshire, where he market gardened, wrote poetry and political works and made sandals (including a pair each for George Bernard Shaw and Charlotte Perkins Gilman, who both visited him).
Carpenter is most famous today for his writings on sexuality and can be seen as a forerunner of the movement for gay liberation. He was the friend, possibly lover, of the famous American poet Walt Whitman. In the years immediately following the Oscar Wilde trial, he lived openly with his long-term partner, George Merrill. Siegfried Sassoon wrote to thank him for his writings on homosexuality, whilst E.M. Forster’s visit to Millthorpe in 1912 provided the inspiration for his novel Maurice.
The walk will begin with the Owenite Hall of Science, where Carpenter gave his first political talk, taking in many sites, including Paradise Square an the Commonwealth Cafe on Scotland Street.
- Featured in
- Heritage Open Days picks