Friday, 29 March 2013

'Never More Blessed' - A Talk on the Friendship Between Mary Lily Walker and D'arcy Wentworth Thompson

On the 26th March, our research team hosted a talk on the lifelong friendship between Mary Lily Walker and D'arcy Thompson. More information on their friendship has recently been unearthed from their correspondance between them held in the archives at St Andrews University. 

D'arcy Thompson was appointed Professor of Biology at University College, Dundee (which would later become the University of Dundee which we know today). Mary attended the college and the two of them started a friendship which would last their entire lifetime, before she passed away in 1913.

Appropriately enough, the talk was held in the D'arcy Thompson Zoology museum, situated in the Carnelly Building on the University of Dundee campus. The museum is full of zoological specimens that Thompson obtained throughout his life, including some rarer specimens such as the skeleton of a now-extinct Steller's Sea Cow.

The talk was well attended, with about 30 brave souls braving the inclement weather. We give our thanks for all who attended and showed an interest in the wonderful friendship demonstrated in Walker and Thompson's correspondance. Speakers included the University of Dundee's Matthew Jarrow, Dr Suzanne Zeedyk and Peter Kinnear. Below are some photos from the event:

Matthew Jarron, introducing the evening

Suzanne Zeedyk, introducing the evening's themes

Suzanne getting animated with an attentive audience

Peter Kinnear, calling up the spirit of D'Arcy Thompson

A kind and receptive audience

Michael Mulford, one of the Mary Lily Walker Event Team members

Members of the MLW Event Team, including Matthew Jarron,
Co-ordinator of the Museum Talk Series.

Another shot of the audience

Friday, 22 March 2013

Presentation to Dundee Rotary Club, March 2013

The Dundee Rotary was delightfully keen to hear about Mary Lily Walker's work - We discovered that the current Rector of Dundee High School, which Walker attended, was a member of the club. It was a busy MLW week, with discussion of her taking place both in the meeting and in person. One of the best parts of speaking to the Rotary Club? Bringing today's Early Years Movement to the business community.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Walking Tour

On March 4th, some of our research team took a party out and about around Dundee on a walking tour.  They took in various important sites and points to do with Mary Lily Walker's life, starting at the Magdalen Green bandstand and finishing at the Grey Lodge Settlement. Here's some photos from the day:

The group in front of the Magdalen Green Bandstand

In the minibus

Walking through a snowy Balgay Park

Viewing Mary Lily Walker's headstone

The group at Mary's grave

A snow covered Balgay Cemetery

Heading down to the Howff

Visiting Thomas Walker's family grave at the Howff

Tea and cakes at the Grey Lodge Settlement

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Photo of Mary Lily Walker

This is a copy of the only existing photograph of Mary Lily Walker, found recently. The date is at present unknown, but we're researching more currently. If you happen to know of another photograph, just drop us a comment - we'd be excited to hear!

Tay Bridge

Mary Lily Walker’s childhood home was on Magdalen Green.  She lived there until somewhere between 1876 and 1878.  This means that she may well have watched the Tay Bridge going up from her bedroom window!

1905 Report Table

In 1905, Mary Lily Walker published, with the help of Mona Wilson, a ground breaking report on the health of Dundee’s children.  That report is one of her greatest legacies, and it is still used as a key reference today, for understanding how bad social conditions were in the city.  This is one of the many tables that they included in the report.  Afterwards, the two of them went for a holiday and Mona Wilson recorded that they were at first too exhausted to enjoy themselves.

Echidna skeleton

In her early university days at Dundee College, Mary Lily Walker was a keen biologist.  Guess what she worked on:  the skeletons of echidna, otherwise known as a spiny anteater. This is what one looks like.  This particular specimen is from the Darcy Thompson Museum at the University of Dundee.  Maybe she even worked on this very skeleton! 

William Peterson

William Peterson was the first principal of Dundee College, when it was established in 1882.  When Mary Lily Walker began classes in 1883, she moved in across the street from him.  His younger sister, Meta, proceeded to become Mary Lily’s closest and lifelong friend.