Room With A View

Allan Beswick presents a series about rooms in which significant events occurred.


0101Room N1a, Nuffield Research Laboratory, Physics Building, Birmingham University2003022420041004

In 1939, two German/Austrian Jewish scientists were excluded from working on radar because they were enemy aliens.

Instead Rudi Peierls and Otto Frisch turned their attention to nuclear fission.

Their breakthrough meant that the allies got the bomb before the Germans.

Presenter Allan Beswick talks to nuclear historian Lorna Arnold about how these extraordinary events came about.

0102The Debussy Suite, The Grand Hotel, Eastbourne2003022520041005

In 1905, Claude Debussy travelled to Eastbourne with his pregnant mistress Emma Bardac. Behind in France he had left his wife Lily and the papers were full of the scandal. In a large hotel room overlooking the sea he put the finishing touches to La Mer.

Presenter Allan Beswick talks to academic Richard Langham Smith about Debussy's state of mind on that unusual visit.

0103The Constable's Room, Carisbrooke Castle, Isle Of Wight2003022620041006

In 1647, King Charles I escaped from Hampton Court, only to find himself virtually a prisoner at Carisbrooke Castle. This room was the scene of his intrigues with the Scots, which resulted in the second civil war and numerous unsuccessful escape attempts, the most famous of which failed because the king got stuck in the window.

Presenter Allan Beswick talks to historian Dr Jack Jones

010422 Hans Place, Knightsbridge, London2003022720041007

In October 1921 a group of Irish delegates, including the Head of the IRA Michael Collins, arrived at Hans Place.

It was to their base for the next two months while they negotiated with the British government for the self-rule of Ireland.

Allan Beswick talks to historian Michael Kennedy about the drama, intrigue and final ultimatum that led to the Anglo-Irish agreement.

0105The Old Study, Down House, Down, Kent2003022820041008

Charles Darwin wrote The Origin of Species in his study, in virtual secrecy. Presenter Allan Beswick talks to author Randall Keynes about his domestic life while he carried out his world-changing research.

0201Northmoor Road, Oxford20050418

In a small study in a North Oxford house, J R R Tolkien wrote The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

Allan Beswick talks to Humphrey Carpenter in the room where Middle Earth was born.

0202Addington, Buckinghamshire20050419

In a small Hertfordshire village, the Czech government, in exile in Britain, hatched a plot to assassinate the notorious 'Butcher of Prague', Heydrich.

Allan Beswick talks to Jan Kaplin about their audacious plan.

0203Joyce's Tower, Sandycove, Dublin20050420

The story of how a quarrel with friends led to James Joyce's writing Ulysses.

02047 Gower Street, London20050421

Allan Beswick visits rooms with a history.

In the 1850s, John Millais painted the famous pre-Raphaelite portrait of Ophelia in his studio.

0205 LASTThe Music Room, St Paul's Girls School, Brook Green.20050422

Gustav Holst wrote The Planets on Sunday afternoons in a soundproofed room.