THE ARTS SOCIETY CHISWICK
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DateLecture
09 November 2017Basingstoke and its Contribution to World Culture
11 January 2018Vienna Secession 1918-2018: Gustav Klimt & Egon Schiele
08 February 2018Galla Placidia: the Empress and the Fall of Rome
08 March 2018Shakespeare: the Birth of Modern Show Business
12 April 2018The Age of Modern Jazz
10 May 2018Zaha Hadid – architectural superstar
14 June 2018TBA – Russian Culture
12 July 2018The Magnificence of Persia: the art of Isfahan, Shiraz and ancient Persepolis
13 September 2018tba
11 October 2018Played in London – charting the Heritage of a City at Play
08 November 2018Food & Art through the Ages: From Renaissance Sugar Sculpture to 3D printing

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Basingstoke and its Contribution to World Culture Rupert Willoughby Thursday 09 November 2017

One of the most derided towns in England, renowned for its dullness, Basingstoke is distinguished only by its numerous roundabouts and absurd Modernist architecture. Rupert explains that the post-war planners, who inflicted such features as ‘the Great Wall of Basingstoke’ on the town, were politically-motivated and bent on destroying all traces of its past. He reveals the nobler Basingstoke that is buried beneath the concrete, and the few historic gems that have survived the holocaust. Hilariously told, it is a story that neatly illustrates the ugliest episode in England’s architectural history. As Betjeman wrote prophetically, “What goes for Basingstoke goes for most English towns”. 

Rupert Willoughby is a prize-winning historian who specialises in the domestic and social life of the past. A graduate with First Class Honours in History from the University of London, he is the author of the best-selling Life in Medieval England for Pitkin, of guides to castles owned by English Heritage and Hampshire County Council, and of a series of popular histories of places, including Chawton: Jane Austen’s Village and Basingstoke and its Contribution to World Culture. He contributes regular obituaries to The Times and The Daily Telegraph, writes privately-commissioned histories of houses, and is an experienced lecturer - and occasional broadcaster - on a broad range of topics, with a particular interest in architecture, interior decoration and costume.

Our lectures start at 8pm.