Burton: Exploring Without Boundaries

Sir Richard Burton, the famous Victorian explorer buried in Mortlake, was an extraordinary man whose achievements included leading an expedition to find the source of the River Nile and mastering over twenty languages, from Marathi to Arabic. To celebrate the bicentenary of his birth we are hosting a programme of events and are encouraging everyone to become an explorer and discover hidden historic sites and green spaces in south and west London.

Map and Compass

To celebrate the bicentenary of Sir Richard Burton, the famous Victorian explorer buried in Mortlake, we hosting a programme of events and encouraging everyone to become an explorer and discover hidden historic sites and green spaces in South West London.

Sir Richard Burton KCMG FRGS (1821 – 1890) was an extraordinary man, whose achievements included leading an expedition to find the source of the River Nile, and mastering over twenty languages, from Marathi to Arabic. According to Mary Lovell, author of the biography of Burton called A Rage to Live, ‘Burton was almost a real life Victorian prototype for the fictional Indiana Jones: scholar, adventurer, soldier, explorer, geographer, linguist, orientalist, ethnologist, diplomat and writer – to name only some of his abilities.’

This fascinating man deserves to be remembered, if only to illustrate how rich and full a life can be when lived without boundaries.”

 

It is important to say, however, that, as a Victorian explorer in the age of Empire, he also held some views that most of us today would find unethical.

Help to conserve Burton’s Mausoleum

We have cared for the mausoleum since 2010. To mark Burton’s bicentenary we wish to open up the interior, which has been sealed from the public for almost fifty years, and ensure that the building can inspire a future generations of explorers. Donate today

Read our article in April 2020 edition of Geographical Magazine here

Exploring without boundaries

Focusing on Burton’s linguist skills, We are working with Richmond EAL and Learn English at Home delivering classroom sessions and leading guided walks in the local area so that all members of the community are able to enjoy and benefit from the area’s many historic sites and green spaces.

We’re also working with local and international primary schools, providing lessons on the life Sir Richard Burton that cover the Geography, History and RE curriculum as well as engaging them with local history.

Partners and supporters of the project include the contemporary local explorer, Levison Wood, the biographer of Sir Richard and Isabel Burton, Mary Lovell, the author, Diana Darke, the Mausolea and Monuments Trust and the Royal Geographical Society.

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