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Special Feature - Edward Carpenter's Cambridge

Carpenter at Cambridge, 2nd from left with hat on knee.

The Edward Carpenter Forum hosted a day long visit to Cambridge, England in September of 2009. The event was organized and led by EC Forum co-founder and website co-editor John Baker.

Forum members visited the sites closly associated with Carpenter's years in that City, years during which he attended University and served as a curate in the Church of England. It also marked the time of his increasing awarness of both himself and the larger spiritual and political issues that would preoccupy him for the remainder of his life.

Our thanks and gratitude go to Trinty Hall Master, Professor Martin Daunton and Mrs Daunton, Dr. John Pollard and Trinity Hall Fellow Alison Hennegan for the hospitality and warm welcome they gave to us on our visit. Thanks also to Canon Fraser Watts of St Edward's Church for his graciousness and assistance.

And many thanks to our own dear John Baker for organizing this wonderful event and collecting much of the Carpenter materials we now publish here.



A photo essay of the Forum's visit to Cambridge and the places associated with Edward Carpenter.

Excerpts from Carpenter's writing about his life and times in Cambridge.

 Cambridge Comrades

A look at two of Carpenter's closest friends from his Cambridge years: Edward Beck and Charles Oates.


Our featured Letter is one Carpenter wrote in 1871 to the man who, like himself, was also gay and would be his closest confidant for over 20 years.

An account of a memorial service for Carpenter held at St Edward's Church, where he served as a curate before renouncing his orders.

Edward Carpenter (1844-1929) was a proponent of a "larger" Socialism, one that embraced the liberation of the emotional and spiritual life along with the economic. A small-holding farmer and cultural and political activist, he advocated the Simplification of Life and put his beliefs into practice. A man of letters, he published over 20 books, including his collection of poems Towards Democracy, and numerous additional articles. He campaigned through out his life on many issues of social concern, ranging from women's suffrage to the protection of the environment, from sexual emancipation to the formation of trade unions. A unifying spiritual vision underlay all of his life and work. As a homosexual man, he lived openly and in quiet celebration while his writings and example laid the foundation for the homosexual freedom movement of the twentieth century. More on Edward Carpenter...
Through his many friendships, Edward Carpenter transversed again and again the divisions of class, gender, sexuality, race and creed. Men and women from across the world and from all walks of life came into connection with each other through him and his home at Millthorpe in Derbyshire, England. Appreciative of this, the Edward Carpenter Forum welcomes a diversity of men and women from around the world and from a wide range of interest groups; social, political or academic.