RALEIGH, Walter Alexander  [1861 - 1922]

I have always found it interesting to note the reaction of people when I tell them that Sir Walter Raleigh lived near Sefton Park. Not, of course, the wayward adventurer of Tudor times, but an eminent academic of his age who for ten years (1890-1900) was Professor of Modern Literature at Liverpool University.

Walter Alexander Raleigh was born on 5th September 1861 in London, the son of a Congregationalist minister. Graduating from Kings College, Cambridge, he was Professor of English Literature at the Mohammedan Anglo-Oriental College at Aligarh, India from 1885 until being invalided home in 1887. Aged just 29 in 1890 he took up his professorship at the (then) University College, Liverpool, succeeding the eminent Shakespearean scholar A.C.Bradley. He played a full part in the life of the college at a time when it was blossoming into university status. During his spell in the city he published his first works including The English Novel [1894], Robert Louis Stevenson: an Essay [1895] and Style [1897].

 After a spell at Glasgow University he became the first incumbent of the Chair of Modern Literature at Oxford University. He subsequently wrote a wide variety of critical works as well as original verse. Outside his realm of literature, after the First World War he accepted a commission to write the history of the Royal Air Force, although he was only to complete one volume it was nonetheless his largest published work. In March 1922 he travelled to the Middle East to research the second volume of his RAF history but by the time of his return he was suffering from typhoid fever and died, aged 61, on 13th May 1922.

During his stay in Liverpool Raleigh lived at 7 Brompton Avenue L17.


7 Brompton Avenue L17

Raleigh's home during his time at Liverpool University College.


There is an extensive biography of Raleigh  at the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.