Between September 1940 and May 1941, London was bombed nearly every night, with tens of thousands killed or wounded, and millions of homes destroyed or damaged. Night after night, the population of the world’s biggest city was forced into shelters, basements and tube stations as the Luftwaffe tried to destroy the city and the morale of its people.
In this online talk DON BROWN looks at the history of the Blitz, and its effect upon the capital’s buildings and population. We will also examine the other major raids across the UK and the ‘V’ weapon onslaught that hit London in the last year of the war.
It’s a story of fear, survival, and heroism, but there is so much more to it than the popular image of cheerful cockneys “keeping calm and carrying on”.
As we add more events (we’re just putting together our November programme, including a range of shorter, lunchtime, talks – more news on those soon), our page of forthcoming events starts looking a little crowded.
So we’ve put everything onto a Google calendar, which we’ll update as new things go in. This lets you see what’s coming up on a handy ‘month to view’ (which you can change to a week view), so you can plan your viewing. Each entry has a link to take you to the Eventbrite page so you can get more information or book.
After the success of our first charity talk, which – through your generosity – raised £630 for Prostate Cancer UK, we’ve scheduled another event on 20 October.
Emma will be doing her virtual tour of Old Chelsea, to tell us what brought Kings, courtesans, actors and artists to Chelsea from the 1500s up to the trendiest and wealthiest of today. There’s stunning architecture and great stories making this an hour of history and scandal not to be missed.
And, keeping it local, all ticket money will be donated to the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, based on the Fulham Road. From funding state-of-the-art equipment and groundbreaking research, to creating the best patient environments, the charity helps ensure that the Royal Marsden hospital can continue to provide the very best care and develop life-saving treatments.
There’s no fixed ticket price – just pay what you feel able to donate. You can book tickets below:
Our friend, and fellow guide, Marc Blake has only gone and published a book.
Called ‘Spirit of the Blitz’ this young adult thriller is set during the height of the bombing of London in WW2 and will make a perfect addition to any mystery fan’s bookshelf.
During the Blitz of 1940, many thousands of Londoners sheltered in the Underground. On the very first day, twelve-year-old William Lumley, his mother, and little sister Aggie are bombed out. Fleeing to the safety of the Tube, they begin a subterranean existence and Will befriends the station marshal, Mr Sands. Although they are protected from the constant bombing above, there is great danger underneath the streets. There’s a gang of spivs as well as temptation and frustration in the form of Will’s fickle cousin Evie. But worst of all an evil, malignant being lurks deep in the tunnels, appearing at night to steal the children away. Only Will has seen the beast, but can he find a way to convince others of the danger amidst the chaos and destruction of war-torn London?
As part of the research for his talk on the life of Churchill, Don has been plotting various locations associated with Sir Winston on the map below (it’s still very much a work in progress, so it’s being added to all the time).
You can see, for example, the addresses where he lived in London, monuments to him or his works, where he went to school, where he’s buried, even where he bought his cigars.
Enjoy exploring the map – and do drop us a line if you think there are other addresses that should be plotted.
Part two of LEO HEATON’s ‘Archaeology in the City’ series, this virtual tour will escort you down into the tunnels and brand new rail stations of Europe’s largest ever infrastructure project, Crossrail, to have a closer look at the finds unearthed during its construction.
From everyday items, like Victorian chamber pots and Roman coins, to rare treasures such as medieval water pumps and a piece of 55 MILLION year old amber – come and explore the sites and some of the objects that this remarkable project uncovered one by one. Is it true that bodies were discovered still carrying 14th century plague pathogens? What gruesome discovery had to make way for the new Liverpool Street station ticketing hall? And why on earth were 13,000 jam jars buried underneath Tottenham Court Road?!
Join Leo to spend a fascinating hour putting together a few more of the pieces that make up London’s archaeological jigsaw puzzle.
The City of Westminster is home to royal palaces, the national church of Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament, Downing Street, monuments to famous Britons (and others), Royal Parks and much more.
Join DON BROWN on this classic ‘walk’. We will start in the dead centre of London at Trafalgar Square, ‘stroll’ down Whitehall to see the Prime Minster’s home at 10 Downing Street, the Household Cavalry guarding the entrance to Horseguards, and the Cenotaph. In Parliament Square we’ll take in the Victorian gothic Palace of Westminster and discuss the differences between the Commons and the Lords.
Nodding to Churchill, Mandela, Gandhi and Fawcett, we will admire the medieval Gothic of Westminster Abbey – the site of every English coronation since 1066, and then make our way through beautifully preserved 18th century streets to St James’s Park.
Then a quick jog down the royal processional route of The Mall, (calling in to see Henry VIII’s palace and one of the sites where ‘The Crown’ was filmed) to end up at HM the Queen’s principal London residence – Buckingham Palace.
This is the classic London walk – enhanced by being online as we can look inside the palaces and parliament, and even behind the famous door at 10 Downing Street.
TIM BARRON takes you on a journey through the Wessex civilisations with the latest scientific discoveries and re-analysis of existing information leading to some astonishing ‘new‘ finds.
Wessex is the ancient title for the area of central southern England notably the rolling chalk lands of Salisbury plain, rich in stone age, bronze age and iron age archaeology. Perhaps the most significant innovation is to look at the spectacular megalith Stonehenge as part of the massive group of significant structures that surround it. To look at it in isolation is akin to studying a Cathedral without referring to a city’s surrounding countryside, its history and religions and most importantly its people.
We will look at over 5000 years of civilisation from the Stone age to the origins of Salisbury cathedral in the 1200s. The ups and downs of earth, stone & wood megastructures, some well known, others less so, some waiting to be explored, others still to be discovered!
Do you know your Stuarts from your Tudors? How about which King signed Magna Carta? Do you know how many Kings called Edward there have been on the throne? How about how many Queens?
In this condensed look at the history of the British Monarchy, RACHEL PEARSON will steer us through some of the key moments in British Monarchic history including the Norman Conquest, the Wars of the Roses, the Tudor dynasty, the split that took place between Parliament and Monarchy and the flamboyant Georgian era.
The talk will touch briefly on the 20th century, but will largely focus on the centuries before this. It will also consider how a royal line of succession that today is seemingly so well established, has overcome years of trouble; when men and women found themselves in line to reign almost by accident.