Sidney Ball Memorial Lectures

Barnett House instituted a special annual lecture soon after it was founded in 1914. The first lecture was given in 1917 and published as the Barnett House Papers No. 1 by Oxford University Press in the same year. Sidney Ball, chairman of the Barnett House Committee, died in March 1918. A memorial endowment was established in his name and the first Sidney Ball Memorial lecture was delivered on 1 December 1920 by the Right Hon. Sir Horace Plunkett.

Plunkett began this first lecture: “I have the honour to inaugurate [the memorial lectures] today. Their aim will be the promotion of an intimate and mutually helpful relationship between the thought of the University Sidney Ball adorned and the working life of the community he lived to serve.

Barnett House retained copyright over the lectures except that delivered by John Maynard Keynes in 1924. Where available, texts or recordings are linked below.

Barnett House Papers: 1917-1920

Sidney Ball Lectures: 1920 - present

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1 December 1920, printed as ‘Oxford and the Rural Problem’ Barnett House Papers No.6, OUP 1921.

November, 1924. The essay with the same title, published in 1926 by the Hogarth Press was stated to be based on the 1924 Sidney Ball lecture. The Hogarth Press version has been reprinted many times, including in J. M. Keynes, Essays in Persuasion, Palgrave-Macmillan, 2010.

21 November 1927, Barnett House Papers No. 11, OUP 1928

27 May 1929,  Barnett House Papers No. 12, OUP 1929 (A.C. Pigou was invited to speak in 1928 but was delayed by illness).

October 31 1930, Barnett House Papers No. 14, OUP 1930  

13 November 1931, Barnett House Papers No. 15, OUP 1931

2 May 1934, Barnett House Papers No.17, OUP 1934

16 November 1937, Barnett House Papers No.21, OUP 1938

3 November 1938, Barnett House Papers No. 22, OUP 1938

4 June 1942, Barnett House Papers No. 25, OUP 1942

8 March 1945, Barnett House Papers No. 28, OUP 1945

Barnett House Paper No. 30 OUP 1949. (It is not clear whether this was a Sidney Ball lecture).

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‘Social Work and Recession’ - Dr. Jane Aldgate 

‘The Prospects for Social Reform’ - David Donnison 

‘Socialism and Freedom’ - Frank Field MP 

‘The Social Services in Adversity – a Review’ - Professor A. H. Halsey

‘In Defence of Comprehensive Schools’ - Dr. A. F. Heath

‘The Changing Political Contours of the Welfare State’ - Neville Johnson 

‘Innovation, Experiment and Research in Social Services’ - G. A. N. Smith

‘European Demographic Trends and Their Implications for Social Policy’ - Jonathan Bradshaw

‘Are ‘Rights’ an Essential Component of any Theory of Social Policy?’ - David Donnison

'Does the Welfare State Make People Passive and Dependent? A Test Against the Swedish Experience' - Robert Erikson

'Poverty in the European Community: Trends and Responses' - Graham Room

23 April 2007. No paper available.

In 2007 the Sidney Ball Memorial Lecture series was reinstated as an annual event.

Professor David Spiegelhalter, 'Why should we have trust in numbers?', 26 October 2017. Watch online

Thursday 8 November 2018 at Lady Margaret Hall. Watch here.

Peter Taylor-Gooby gives the centenary Sidney Ball Lecture on 12 November, 2020. Watch it here.