I’m delighted to announce that a digital version of our exhibition about Sir Howard Kingsley Wood, A Thoroughly Modern Man? (1881-1924) is now live. To learn more about Wood’s early life and work, check out the Special Collections & Archives exhibition webpages.
A Thoroughly Modern Man? was our last physical exhibition in the level 1 gallery space and ran for six weeks earlier this summer. This coincided with the publication of the first part of historian Hugh Gault’s biography of Wood, Making the Heavens Hum: Kingsley Wood and the Art of the Possible, which has been significantly supported by Wood’s scrapbooks, held in Special Collections & Archives.
A Methodist, lawyer and politician, Wood had a keen eye for detail and a strong sense of moral duty. This led him to champion causes of health and insurance for the less well-off in society. His times also coincided with radical change, including the First World War, the first enfranchisement of women and the increase in state support. Wood himself was a key player in the implementation of National Insurance, and proposed the Ministry of Health in 1918.
With concerns about European relations, levels state support, the reputation of politicians and the status of Ireland, many of the issues which Wood and the Coalition government dealt with are familiar to us today. The exhibition considered this earlier portion of his life to ask whether Wood was, in fact, a modern man, despite working almost 100 years ago.
You can explore the exhibition through tabs on the website above and follow the blog tags for more posts about Wood. If you would like to know more about Wood’s scrapbooks, please take a look at our Collection pages.