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Forthcoming events

Sir Charles Warren – Royal Engineer extraordinaire

Kevin Shillington, Independent historian and biographer



4pm, 3rd November, 2016, BP Lecture Theatre, Clore Education Centre, British Museum. To book, contact the British Museum Box Office:  020 7323 8181 or     and go to the 'What's On' option at the top of the BM homepage. Then choose the 'Events Calendar'  and scroll down the page to see events listed by date and time.

Poster Lecture 3rd November 2016

Warren %26 Diamond Fields

Image: Lt. Colonel Warren (centre) and the Officers of the Diamond Fields Horse, 1878.  Courtesy of the Duggan Cronin Gallery

If Charles Warren (1840-1927) is known at all today, it is as the pioneering archaeologist of Jerusalem in the 1860s; or, perhaps more widely, as the Metropolitan Police Commissioner who failed to catch ‘Jack the Ripper’; or, finally perhaps, as the General who lost the Boer War Battle of Spion Kop. One triumph and two disasters.
This lecture will challenge these limited caricatures by focussing on the whole career of Charles Warren, before and after Jerusalem, from his first posting in Gibraltar, where he honed his skills, personal and professional, that enabled him to gain fame as ‘Jerusalem Warren’. It will look at his early South African career, where among other things he successfully surveyed a boundary that transferred the fabulously wealthy diamond mines of Kimberley from a Boer Republic to a British Colony. It will analyse how he performed the extraordinary feat of extracting the murderers of Professor Edward Palmer from a hostile Sinai Desert before bringing them to trial in Alexandria. His place within the literature of the first ‘Bloody Sunday’ and ‘Ripperology’ will be put into the proper context of his career and personality, and finally, Warren will be allowed to vindicate himself from the shame of Spion Kop.

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