Packing Up the Nation

Saving our National Treasures

by Caroline Shenton

Monday 24th January 2022

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. Utilising country houses from Buckinghamshire to Cumbria, Underground tunnels, Welsh mines and Wiltshire quarries, a dedicated team of unlikely heroes packed up their greatest treasures in a race against time during the sweltering summer of 1939, dispatching them throughout the country on a series of secret wartime adventures, retold in this talk.

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Dr Caroline Shenton is an archivist, historian and prize-winning writer. She was formerly Director of the Parliamentary Archives in London, and before that was a senior archivist at the National Archives. She has come to speak to us previously on The Day Parliament Burned Down, and the Art of the Suffragettes. 

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