The latest exhibition now on display at the Springfield Community Campus returns to Victorian story which has a local twist involving the Nile explorers, John Hanning Speke and Richard Francis Burton, and their expeditions and subsequent bitter rivalry in search of the source of the Nile. The touring exhibition, compiled by the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution (BRLSI), returns to Corsham to co-incide with the Corsham Walking Festival and will be on show until Saturday 27th June. The Festival includes a circular walk on Saturday 13th June called ‘Explorer and Pilgrims’ which will visit the memorial to Captain Speke at Wadswick on the Neston Park estate where he was killed in ‘mysterious’ circumstances.
The background to the story dates back to the 19th century when the location of the source of the Nile was the most hotly-contested issue of the time and there was a local turn in 1864 when a debate, termed the ‘Nile Duel’, was arranged to take place in Bath between Hanning Speke and Burton. Captain Speke stayed with relatives from the Fuller family near Box during his visit and on the day before the event he was killed in a ‘tragic hunting accident’ while game shooting on the Neston Park estate near Chapel Plaister. Suspicion surrounded his death of course but the result was that the anticipated debate did not take place.
Find out more from the display, from the guided walk and from the book ‘Bath and the Nile Explorers’ available to buy in the Corsham Tourist Information Office.