Skip to content

Gresham College: Prof. Simon Thurley – Theatres of Revolution: The Stuart Kings and the Architecture of Disruption: #2/4 – Charles I: The Court At War


Another good  lecture series as Prof Thurley explores the intersection of architecture and power.

About this series

In four lectures,

Based on new research Simon Thurley illuminates the architectural world of the century of revolution. The Stuart period saw huge religious, social and political disruption and amidst this, monarchs struggled to rule, frequently from ad hoc and makeshift residences. The interactions between architecture and power took on different meanings as monarchs struggled, against the odds, to govern and sometimes, simply survive.

These lectures explore key moments in 17th century history through the lens of the architectural expedients the Stuart monarchs adopted to rule.

About this lecture

During the Civil War Charles I’s court, denied access to its usual country residences, was forced to set itself up in a series of makeshift locations. The most important of these was Oxford which Charles converted into a large and well-organised courtly campus.

Oxford, and a series of other temporary ‘palaces’, had to be both elegant court centres and efficient military headquarters; these very unusual royal houses cast new light on the key protagonists in England’s Civil War.

Professor Simon Thurley

Professor Thurley is a leading architectural historian, a regular broadcaster and was, for thirteen years, Chief Executive of English Heritage, the Government’s principal advisor on the historic environment in England. Prior to joining English Heritage in 2002, he served as the Director of the Museum of London, the world’s largest city museum. Between 1990 to 1997 he was the Curator of Historic Royal Palaces, the organisation is responsible for Hampton Court Palace, the Tower of London, Kensington Palace, the Banqueting House, Whitehall and Kew Palace.

Throughout his career, Simon has been passionate about communicating English history. He is the author of more than ten books including The Building of England, his history of English architecture, and The Royal Palaces of Tudor England, the subject of his PhD taken at the Courtauld Institute. At Historic Royal Palaces, and later at English Heritage, he was responsible for major restoration projects – the most recent of which was the restoration of the Stonehenge landscape and the construction of a new museum there. At the Museum of London, he led an exciting exhibition programme, inspiring people with a passion for the city. His television projects include, most recently, Heritage! the story of the heritage movement in Britain made for BBC4.

He is currently a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Historical Research, University of London. He is also a Trustee of the British Library, of the Canal and River Trust and of the Society of Court Studies, an academic study group he helped to found 25 years ago. He is a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and the Royal Historical Society. He is currently the Gresham Visiting Professor of the Built Environment.

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: