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DateLecture
26 November 2019Mr Barry’s War: Rebuilding the Houses of Parliament
10 December 2019 “Sing we Yule”
28 January 2020Rembrandt: Bohemian or Businessman. Romantic or Rebel

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Mr Barry’s War: Rebuilding the Houses of Parliament Caroline Shenton Tuesday 26 November 2019

THIS LECTURE WILL FOLLOW ON FROM THE AGM, WHICH WILL START AT 10.00 a.m.

 

A highly topical lecture, given the current arguments about the multi-billion pound restoration planned for Westminster! The Houses of Parliament is one of the most famous and staggering buildings in the world. Its rises serenely from the Thames at Westminster, on a site which has been the centre of power and  government in England from the earliest times. It is a masterpiece of Victorian architecture and a spectacular feat of civil engineering, but from the beginning, its design and construction were a battleground for its architect, Charles Barry. The practical challenges, even by the standards of Victorian invention, were immense Battling the interference of MPs and royalty, coaxing and soothing the genius of his partner Pugin, fending off the mad schemes of a host of crackpot inventors and busybodies, and coming in three times over budget and twenty-four years behind schedule, this lecture will tell the story of how Charles Barry created the most famous    building in Britain.


Biographical Note: Dr Caroline Shenton is an archivist and historian. She was formerly Director of the Parliamentary Archives in London, and before that was a senior archivist at the National Archives. Her book The Day Parliament Burned Down won the Political Book of the Year Award in 2013 and Mary Beard called it ‘microhistory at its absolute best’. Its acclaimed sequel, Mr Barry’s War, about the rebuilding of the Palace of Westminster, was a Book of the Year in 2016 for The Daily Telegraph and BBC History Magazine and was described by Lucy Worsley as ‘a real jewel, finely wrought and beautiful’. Caroline was Political Writer in Residence at Gladstone’s Library in 2017, has appeared at the Cheltenham, Hay and Henley literary festivals and on BBC radio and TV.