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March 16, 2004

British historian Adrian Tinniswood to present illustrated slide lecture on the Great Fire of London

Distinguished British historian Adrian Tinniswood will present an illustrated slide lecture on the horrific six-day fire of September 1666 that destroyed the city of London. In “By Permission of Heaven: The Story of the Great Fire of London,” Tinniswood explores the history of this cataclysmic event from the first small blaze that began in a Pudding Lane bakery to the ultimate rebirth of the city at the hands of a commission led by English architect Christopher Wren. The lecture, which is co-sponsored by the Royal Oak Foundation, will take place at 4 p.m., Tuesday, April 20 in the Hennage Auditorium of Colonial Williamsburg’s DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum.

Tinniswood is a British social historian, writer and lecturer whose passion for architecture and history began in earnest in the late 1970s when he took up the task of researching and writing the history of Sudbury Hall in Derbyshire, England, a late Caroline house owned by Britain’s National Trust. This project began a 20-year association for Tinniswood, who also has served as editor, author and educational consultant.

Tinniswood lectures extensively in both the U.S. and the U.K., and has conducted several tours for the Royal Oak Society. His publications include: “Life in an English Country Cottage,” “Country Houses from the Air,” “Historic Houses of the National Trust,” “Visions of Power: Architecture and the British Crown,” “The Polite Tourist: Four Centuries of Country House Visiting,” “His Invention So Fertile: The Life of Christopher Wren” and, most recently, “By Permission of Heaven: The Story of the Great Fire of London.”

The Royal Oak Foundation is the American alliance of the National Trust of England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Royal Oak Foundation members can pre-register for this event at and will be admitted free. The lecture is included in museum admission.

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation’s award winning DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum, supported by the DeWitt Wallace Fund for Colonial Williamsburg, displays the foundation’s exceptional collection of English and American decorative arts. Entered through the reconstructed Public Hospital of 1773, the museum is on Francis Street near Merchants Square and is open daily from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is included in any Colonial Williamsburg admission ticket or by separate one-day or annual museums ticket. For program information, contact Mary Cottrill at (757) 220-7984 or

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Sophia Hart
(757) 220-7272