Gertrude Bell and the Scottish Government Architect of Iraq
Wednesday 18 November 2020
Sana Al Naimi
In this lecture, Sana shared some of the exciting findings uncovered during research for a Ph.D. thesis entitled Architecture and Urbanism in Twentieth Century Iraq: The Enduring Legacy of Gertrude Bell.
The talk focussed around a dramatic event that happened during the first year of the creation of the Kingdom of Iraq in 1921. Part of the Sarai building which housed King Faisal I of Iraq, Gertrude Bell's infant Iraq Museum and the Govennment Architect J.M. Wilson's office, collapsed into Baghdad's River Tigris.
The contradictory reactions to this event reflect contrasting agendas and resonate with the present day to a great extent. The lecture also highlighted the importance of the architectural archive in re-examining historical accounts.