Friday 28 May 2021

London Churches: After the Fire and After the Blitz

London Churches: After the Fire and After the Blitz
June 16th, 7:30 pm EST
Members Only Zoom Event

Second World War bomb damage to St Stephen’s Walbrook, a church built in the 1670s to replace one lost in the Great Fire of 1666.
Dennis Flanders, 1941, Imperial War Museum.

The Great Fire in the 1660s destroyed St Paul’s Cathedral and 86 of London’s 106 parish churches. Many of them – mostly dating to the Mediaeval era – were rebuilt in the Baroque and Neoclassical styles to reflect the tastes and theological values of the 17th and early 18th centuries. Over 200 years later, in the 1940s, a large number of these structures fell victim to German bombing during the Blitz. Some of them were restored or rebuilt in the aftermath of the Second World War; others were not but had their sites converted to other uses.
In this illustrated lecture, we will examine how people responded to those terrible disasters during two very different time periods, consider the different meanings of the various approaches people might take when faced with the loss of important buildings, and explore the significance of their choices in the realm of heritage preservation.

Dr. Carl Benn is a History professor at Ryerson University, where he has worked since 2008. Before that he served in the museum field for 34 years, latterly as Chief Curator of the City of Toronto’s Museums and Heritage Services, where he fulfilled senior curatorial and managerial duties, restored historical properties, curated exhibits, and produced other public resources. Carl has published extensively, and his books include: Historic Fort York (1993); The Iroquois in the War of 1812 (1998); The War of 1812 (2002); Mohawks on the Nile (2009); Native Memoirs from the War of 1812: Black Hawk and William Apess (2014); and A Mohawk Memoir from the War of 1812: John Norton –Teyoninhokarawen (2019). Currently he is researching the history of the Royal Ontario Museum for his next book. His teaching at Ryerson centres on Museum History, Curatorship, Heritage Management, Material Culture, and Archaeology.

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