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James I: The Court at Play

September 18 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm


A Gresham College lecture by Professor Simon Thurley CBE

Before he became King of England in 1603 James I had never set foot in an English royal palace. What he found when he did was a mixed blessing: he may have liked the grandeur and riches, but he hated the stuffy formality. His answer was to create an entirely new sort of country residence devoted to hunting, reading and relaxation with his male favourites.

Architecturally incoherent these places may have been, but James’s remarkable forgotten country houses tell us a huge amount about the man and the dawn of the Stuart age.

Part of the series: Theatres of Revolution: The Stuart Kings and the Architecture of Disruption

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.

No reservations are required for this free lecture, which takes place in the lecture hall of the Museum of London. It is run on a ‘first come, first served’ basis.

Doors open 30 minutes before the start of the lecture.

Details of lecture on the Gresham College website

Gresham College was founded in 1597 under the will of Sir Thomas Gresham, and has been providing free lectures within the City of London for over 400 years. It was the first ‘university’ in England besides Oxford and Cambridge, making it London’s oldest higher education institution still in existence today. It does not enrol any students, and awards no degrees.

The College has been recording its lectures since the 1980s and there are now over 1,900 lectures freely available online in text, audio or video formats. The provision of this free online archive of lectures aligns with its founding principles of accessible free education for all.


September 18
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm


Gresham College


Museum of London
150 London Wall
London, EC2Y 5HN United Kingdom
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020 7001 9844