The Antcliffe Lecture, organised by the Churchill Archives Centre in association with the University’s Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS), commemorates the life of Cambridge alumnus John Antcliffe. Reflecting John’s interests, it focuses on British Politics and in 2024 was delivered by the former Conservative Party leader and Foreign Secretary William Hague, who is now Lord Hague of Richmond. Lord Hague was a personal friend of John, which brought an extra element of poignancy to the talk.

Lord Hague delivered his lecture, which was far-ranging in scope, to a packed auditorium. He examined the parallels between the era of the Industrial Revolution and the changing world we find ourselves in. Lord Hague reflected on how modern factors such as Artificial Intelligence, Climate Change, and current political tensions mirrored the economic, social and political upheaval experienced in the nineteenth century. Referencing the life, achievements, and driving forces of William Pitt the Younger and abolitionist William Wilberforce, Lord Hague encouraged students and researchers to remain optimistic while being prepared to engage fully with the complexity of today’s challenges.

More information on the Antcliffe Lecture can be found on the POLIS website at