Professor Maurice Whitehead, an old boy and former Head Boy, visited the College for the afternoon and presented the Senior Proclamation students with their certificates and prizes. His address was most interesting and gave a clear insight into the impact SFX has had on his life and studies. During his address Maurice paid respects to the recently departed Fred Devereux and explained to us the positive impact Fred’s teaching had had on his life, by allowing the students he taught to view things in a historical context and how through Fred’s influence, Maurice was inspired to work in education. Maurice stressed the importance of international academic links and commented how the current students are very lucky to have access to today’s technology making this process an easier one than it had been in the past. He also reminded us that this was indeed the 140th Proclamation celebrated by St Francis Xavier’s College’s students.
Professor Maurice Whitehead was educated at the University of Durham, qualified as a secondary school teacher at the University of Cambridge and taught at Wimbledon College, London, from 1976 until 1987. In 1984, he completed his doctorate in educational history and was appointed to a lectureship in Education at the University of Hull in 1987 and to a senior lectureship there in 1995. He was appointed Professor of Education at Swansea in 2000. In 2004, following the closure of the University’s Department of Education, he moved to the Department of History to pursue his teaching and research. (Source: Swansea University Website).
Over the past thirty years, Maurice has researched numerous aspects of the history of the English and Welsh Catholic community from the Reformation onwards. His particular fascination with the ways in which 16th-, 17th- and 18th-century English and Welsh Catholics established strong academic and cultural roots in continental Europe during the years of religious persecution at home has led him to undertake extensive research in libraries and archives in France, Belgium, Italy and the United States.
With this background in European history and culture, he has made three major contributions to Liverpool’s celebrations as European Capital of Culture 2008, by:
• Organising the annual, national conference of the Catholic Record Society, held at Liverpool Hope University in July;
• Raising £10,000 to stage Glories and Majesty Revealed – a sell-out concert of recently rediscovered, high quality 17th-century baroque music from the Stuart Catholic Chapels Royal in London, given its first performance in over 300 years by a professional ensemble at St Francis Xavier’s Church, Liverpool, on 30th July 2008;
• Editing the catalogue of an exhibition of treasures from the Stonyhurst College collections, entitled Held in Trust: 2008 Years of Sacred Culture. This was held at SFX Church over the summer and attracted more than 12,000 visitors.
The College would like to offer our heartfelt gratitude to Professor Maurice Whitehead for taking time out of his busy schedule to visit the College and address the students on this special night.