The Collingwoods, Coniston and Ransome, August 24, 2011
In this talk Vicky treated her audience to a fascinating tour of the people, places and history of Coniston, with particular reference to the ways in which the Collingwood family influenced the young Arthur Ransome. Vicky’s knowledge of local history and culture is encyclopedic, and includes a real awareness and understanding of the often complex links between individuals and events. It was this sense of an intertwined collective history that formed one of the major themes of Vicky’s talk, as she identified many possibilities for future research and study.
Vicky brought a number of artefacts from the Ruskin Museum in Coniston, which provoked much interest for nearly forty guests both before and after her lecture.
Vicky Slowe was bred in Hawkshead, educated in Ambleside, and has remained firmly hefted in the Furness Fells. She was introduced to Arthur Ransome’s books at the age of seven, and credits him with developing an interest in local history first nurtured by Beatrix Potter’s little books. As a child she saw Arthur Ransome shopping in Hawkshead.
She has worked in local museums for over 40 years. She catalogued the collection of Ransome books and memorabilia given by Evgenia Ransome to The Lakeland Arts Trust, and set up the larger Arthur Ransome room in the Grammer School section of the Museum of Lakeland Life and Industry.
She called and chaired the meetings that led to the founding of The Arthur Ransome Society in 1990. After 26 years at Abbot Hall (as Director from 1986 to 1993) she took on the challenge in 1993 of redeveloping the Ruskin Museum in Coniston, the museum which first decided her on a curatorial career. Having curated various Ruskin, Collingwood family and Ransome material at Abbot Hall, she has come full circle at the Ruskin Museum, which was established by W.G. Collingwood.