Walthamstow High Street
6-10 Central Parade, 137 Hoe Street, Walthamstow, E17 4RT
Tube: Walthamstow Central (Victoria line, London Overground)

Saturday, 9 March, 11:00 - 12:30
25 may attend

Discover the thriving town centre of Walthamstow with Susie Hyden, Fiona Scott (Gort Scott), and Roland Karthaus (Matter Architects).

Originally a staging post and purportedly London’s first commuter village, like many outer-lying centres it rapidly expanded with the railways. Previously orchards and farmland, much of the town is structured on a loose grid with the High Street running east-west, connecting the original village with convenient crossings of the marshes. One of these routes is known as the ‘black path’ and was an important thoroughfare for goods and cattle on their way to the city. 

Today the High Street is a bustling commercial area, with a wide catchment served by excellent transport links. Reputedly Europe’s longest outdoor street-market, the High Street caters for grocery, clothing, convenience and related shopping, with a strong emphasis on value. The street is lined with continuous retail frontages throughout its length and there is a symbiotic relationship between the independent shops and the market traders. The eastern end of the street is anchored by a shopping mall with a retail ‘loop’, the town square, civic functions and a new development with multiplex cinema. The western end of the High Street lacks anchors and the intensity of footfall dissipates after the crossing of Palmeston Road. The configuration of the market along the street has been a long-standing contention: whilst it conflicts with the shopfronts and makes access difficult, it does generate a sense of intensity that is characteristic of the place. 

Walthamstow is an area of change. London Borough of Waltham Forest recognise the importance of the market and the need for an overall market strategy and public realm improvements to secure its sustainable long-term future. In 2017, Gort Scott produced a strategy and options for improvements to the High Street and market, emphasising the quality of the public realm and the history of the place. In 2018, Matter Architecture took forward this strategy and are currently implementing a series of pilot placemaking projects to test ideas in the public realm. This year Waltham Forest is London’s first Borough of Culture and is hosting a programme of art and cultural activities, including in Walthamstow High Street. 

DEBATE | Commemorating London (and announcing the capital’s worst public sculpture)
Sir Christopher Hatton, Leather Lane, EC1N 7RA
Tube: Chancery Lane (Central line), Farringdon (Circle, Hammersmith & City, Metropolitan lines)

Tuesday, 26 February 2019, 6:30 - 8:30

Join us in the pub to discuss the London sculptures that should never have been erected - and the commemorations that are long overdue.

The London Society and London Historians have been running a poll to find the public artwork that is the capital's least popular, and the 'winner' will be announced this evening.

London has many wonderful public statues and sculptures, but many that are ill-advised, bland, out of place, trite or just plain bad. Tonight you will find out whether others share your opinion.

We'll also be having some positivity throughout the evening, with a range of speakers making a case for the people, things or events that are not currently memorialised and which should be.

Last year's pub debate was a fun night for all, and we look forward to you coming along and taking part this evening.

You can vote in the poll here.

DEBATE | The Planning System: Broken Beyond Repair?
The Gallery, 70 Cowcross Street, London EC1
Tube: Farringdon (Circle, Hammersmith & City, Metropolitan lines)

This event is now SOLD OUT!
Please add your name to the waitlist and you will be contacted should a space become available.

Tuesday, 5 March 2019, 6:30 - 8:30

Is the Planning system destroying hope and opportunity for Londoners? Is it delivering what Londoners need? Is it reformable or is the system now broken beyond repair?

Daniel Moylan, former Deputy Chairman of Transport for London and former Deputy Leader of Kensington and Chelsea Council, asks if the Planning system in London is not now so anti-market and so anti-people in its outcomes that it would not be better to abolish it and start again with a much lighter touch.

Responding to Daniel's polemic will be Victoria Hills, Chief Executive of the Royal Town Planning Institute, who will provide her take on the current system, and there will be questions from the audience.

Anyone with an interest - professional or personal - in London's planning and development will find much to think about in what should be an intelligent and freewheeling debate.

The evening is the second in a series of six debates organised by The London Society and RTPI London that look at different aspects of London's urban planning and how the process affects us all.

Behind the Scenes: Royal Opera House
Bow St, WC2E 9DD
Tube: Covent Garden (Piccadilly line)

This event is now SOLD OUT!
Please add your name to the waitlist and you will be contacted should a space become available.

Tuesday, 19 March, 12:30 - 1:30

25 may attend

Rawden Pettitt, Associate Director, Stanton Williams leads this very special tour of the recently completed works at the Royal Opera House.

The Open Up project forms a major part of the Royal Opera House’s aim to make ballet and opera available to everyone.  The building is more welcoming, transparent and permeable with a host of new facilities and activities.  

The public foyers now become a daytime venue for a wider public with expanded and enhanced spaces with a café, new shop and informal event spaces. 

At the upper level, a new restaurant has stunning views over Covent Garden.
The new Bow Street entrance pavilion connects to street life and provides an external terrace for the much-loved Floral Hall.  Within the pavilion, a double-height foyer leads to the new Linbury Theatre, which will work alongside the main house.


The Development of London’s Railways
The Gallery, 70 Cowcross Street, EC1M 6EL
Tube: Farringdon (Circle, Hammersmith & City, Metropolitan lines)

Thursday, 21 March, 6:30 - 8:30

Why is London’s railway network the way it is?  Is it still right for London?

Alistair Lenczner (Expedition engineering) explores the development of London’s railway network from its inception in the 19th century up to the current day. It considers the impulses that drove the original railway builders and the constraints that they had to overcome.   

The talk will go on to consider how fit-for-purpose London’s railway infrastructure is in the current day. What lessons are to be learnt from past mistakes and what was done in other major cities that London might want to emulate? The talk also explores how might the capital’s railway network evolve over the next 30 years and beyond.

Alistair's talk is the first in the Society's look at London's engineering and infrastructure network.

Paddington Station: Brunel to Crossrail
Weston Williamson + Partners, 12 Valentine Place, SE1 8QH
Tube: Waterloo (Bakerloo, Jubilee, and Northern lines, National Rail), Waterloo East (National Rail)

Tuesday, 2 April, 6:30 - 8:30

Paddington Station is one of Britain's most famous railway termini, and was long the home of the legendary Great Western Railway.  Dr Steven Brindle, a historian at English Heritage and the author of Paddington Station, its History and Architecture (English Heritage, 2nd edition, 2013), tells how Paddington began with a modest temporary terminus in 1838, and was magnificently rebuilt in the 1850s, both times to designs by the GWR's great chief engineer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel.  

Rob Naybour
(Founding Partner, Weston Williamson + Partners) takes up the story with the design and construction of the new Elizabeth Line station: looking at balancing the needs of a modern transport hub with the desire to protect and enhance the original station, as well as the opportunities afforded to resolve historic problems around the station’s connectivity.

High Streets: Beyond Retail
KPF, 7A Langley St, WC2H 9JA
Tube: Covent Garden (Piccadilly line)

Thursday, 18 April, 6:30 – 8:30

Beyond retail - what else can high streets do? With huge economic and technological shifts over the past two decades, it’s clear that high streets won’t continue to exist much longer in their present, retail-focussed form.

In this session, three speakers will explore present and future functions of high streets which go beyond retail.  Melissa Meyer, senior project and policy officer for social integration and the built environment at the GLA, co-authored the High Streets for all (2017) report which established the strong social value of high streets.  Dr Gayle Rogers is an artist who started the 'Workers Gallery' in a disused library on a high street in Ynyshir in the Welsh Valleys. Simon Quin is co-Chair of the Institute of Place Management at Manchester Met and is co-author of two significant research studies on changing high streets. High Street UK 2020 and Bringing Big Data to Small Users. 

The high street is the ideal place for core civic activities, not just shopping: prepare to get excited about the future of the high street. 

The high streets series is curated by Dr Jane Clossick. You can contact Jane for more information about the series, or if you'd like to get involved, via Twitter @jane_clossick. The series is supported by The Sir John Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design, you can find out about many more events at The Cass at www.cassculture.org

The pressures on London’s parks
The Gallery, 70 Cowcross Street, EC1M 6EL
Tube: Farringdon (Circle, Hammersmith & City, Metropolitan lines)

Thursday, 9 May, 6:30 – 8:30

With cuts in public spending impacting on London’s parks, how do we continue to fund and maintain these essential green spaces in the capital? Local authorities struggle to pay for their upkeep and encourage events, festivals and other money-raising activities. The Royal Parks became a charity in 2017 and is funded by a wide range of donors and trusts as well pop concerts and Winter Wonderland.

Join Tony Leach (Chief Executive, Parks for London) and Tom Jarvis (Director of Parks, The Royal Parks) as they explore how parks can accommodate private events as well as public access. Whether our parks are fit for purpose in the 21st century? And query whether they need a redesign in the face of changing attitudes to sports, fitness and wellbeing, walking and cycling, revenue generating events as well as the city-wide Green Grid and plans for a London to become the first National Park City.