24th September 2024

Packing up the Nation: Saving London’s Museums and Galleries in the Second World War

This is the gripping and sometimes hilarious story of how a band of heroic curators and eccentric custodians saved Britain’s national heritage during our Darkest Hour. As Hitler’s forces gathered on the other side of the Channel to threaten these islands, men and women from London’s national museums, galleries and archives forged extraordinary plans to evacuate their collections to safety.

Lecturer :  Caroline Shenton

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’s third book, National Treasures, tells the extraordinary and sometimes hilarious stories behind the saving of London’s art and museum collections in World War Two. 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. In 2023 she was appointed by the government to the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest (RCEWA).