Thomas & Lucy Atkinson: Pioneers in Central Asian Exploration
The talk is about Thomas and Lucy Atkinson in Eastern Kazakhstan 1847-1852 and a trip that presenter Nick Fielding took with a group of 10 descendants of the Atkinsons back to Kapal in the Semirechye region of Eastern Kazakhstan – the place where Lucy gave birth to their son, Alatau Atkinson, in the foothills of the Djungar Alatau mountains. It was an extraordinary trip, with incredible pageant and feast in Kapal. They also had the opportunity to travel to some of the others places associated with the Atkinsons. Nick will also tell of the importance of the Atkinsons in terms of Central Asian exploration. Today they are barely known, but they were real pioneers. In 1859, for example, Thomas gave detailed evidence to a Parliamentary Select Committee on Central Asia and at that time there appeared no-one in Britain who knew more about this region than he did. The Atkinsons were in these remote parts of Central Asia almost a decade before Semyon-Tianshansky, for example, and almost 30 years before any other British travellers. Lucy, who wrote her own book – one of the earliest travel books written by a woman – was certainly the first Western woman to visit these places and spent almost six years alongside her husband travelling across large parts of Central Asia, Siberia and parts of Mongolia.
Presented by Mr Nick Fielding. Nick is a former senior reporter on The Sunday Times and was chief investigative reporter on the Mail on Sunday. He now works as a reporter for the investigative news website Exaro.
A film of the lecture (for members only) is attached below
24 May 2017
Where: The Royal Asiatic Society, 14 Stephenson Way, London NW1 2HD [Nearest Underground Stations Euston Square or Warren Street]
Lecture starts at 7.00pm. Drinks and nibbles available from 6.15pm.
Tickets: Free. Members and their guests only.