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Peter Murray

 

2017 was a bumper year for The London Society with 2500 people attending some 60 events – and 2018 is shaping up to be even better and bigger!

We’ll be continuing with the busy programme of walks, talks and Saturday Morning Schools, as well as, of course, the Banister Fletcher Lecture but 2018 will also see the Society investigating a number of new themes: Alan Powers, former Chair of the 20th Century Society curates a series of talks on London in the 1930s – when planning was so influenced by the Society’s agenda; Eric Reynolds, famous for creating Camden Market, among others, and regenerating Trinity Buoy Wharf, is putting together a programme onLondon: Global Market looking at key examples like Billlingsgate, Spitalfields, Leadenhall and Borough; GLA planner Colin Wilson is curating a programme around the London Plan, which will be the focus of much attention during the year, entitled Planning for 10 Million Londoners.

We will be continuing our studies of London Great Estates and London Iconsthroughout the year.  There will also be Members Only series – How We Work a series of visits to the capital’s key architectural and planning practices to look at the work they are doing and how it will impact on the London of the future.

Click here to download a copy of the current 2018 Spring Events Programme

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Peter Murray

 

I write this from Seoul where I am attending the inaugural Architecture Biennale. To be able to review the upcoming programme of the Society from the other side of the world allows a certain sense of detachment and reinforces one’s views of London’s unending fascination as a city of great historic complexity and contemporary change.
The autumn’s programme is a great reflection of this. The story of the great estate of the City of London, created from medieval land swaps, crumbling city walls and the dissolution of the Greater London Council, will be told by Michael Welbank, a former President of the Royal Town Planning Institute but also until recently Chief Commoner of the City Corporation, one of the most ancient of official posts. Victor Callister, who until he moved to the Design Council was responsible for the transformation of public spaces in the City, will take us on a walking tour to look at the complex area around Chancery Lane, its links with the Knights Templar and the Inns that contain it. And then there is the Banister Fletcher Lecture to be given by Loyd Grossman, a former architectural writer, guitarist, TV presenter, foodie, Chairman of NADFAS and the Royal Parks, he is also a member of the Court of the Worshipful Company of Art Scholars – which takes us back to the City of London and its ancient governance.
The U+I property company recently erected an artwork by Peter Liversidge on the front of its Victoria offices which in illuminated letters boldly states “Everything is connected”. London’s history can be traced not only through its physical fabric but the less tangible networks that are also part of our heritage as a city.
The full list of forthcoming events is available here.

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Peter Murray

 

KdPd-xTe_400x400In wishing all members of the Society and visitors to this site the compliments of the Festive Season, I would like to thank you for supporting the work we have been doing to celebrate and debate this wonderfully complex and endlessly fascinating city.

Over the year we have organised a busy programme of events which have been well attended and covered a wide range of topics; the membership has grown steadily and I am pleased to say that we have attracted a substantial number of younger members, which bodes well for the future. We have published a very attractive Journal and organised a number of events with the All Party Parliamentary Group on London’s Planning and Built Environment.

In the New Year we will be engaging with the Mayor’s consultation on the new London Plan, organising visits – including a series to some of London’s Great Estates, ancient and modern – as well as walks and talks.

We are keen to further increase the number of members – so, if you haven’t joined up yet, please do so for 2017; if you have friends who you think would like to join, please pass on information about the London Society, or consider giving a Gift Membership.

We also have a Corporate Membership class, so if you work for, run or have contacts with a company you think might like to support the work we do please pass on the details or let Director Don Brown know.

Wishing you all the best for 2017 and I look forward to seeing you at lots of events during the year.

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Peter Murray, Chair, The London Society

 

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Peter Murray

 

The Society held two concerts recently, celebrating the 150th anniversary of English Heritage’s Blue Plaque scheme and the contribution to the culture of London made by musicians.

On 31 October, Pizza Express in Soho rocked to the sounds of Omar Puente/Al McSween duo, Yiddish Twist Orchestra, Gospel Singers Incognito and The Sugar Sisters – jazz musicians who all hail from London, exemplifying the melting pot of cultural influences that the City, and especially Soho, has become over the years.

The second concert was at Cecil Sharp House, home to the English Folk Dance and Song Society and celebrated those folk collectors memorialised with Blue Plaques; Cecil Sharp and Percy Grainger. The stellar group of artists included Stick in the Wheel, Sam Carter and Lisa Knapp & Jack Harris. The relevance of the sung tradition of folk tunes and themes came through strongly, with Lisa Knapp and Stick in the Wheel in particular, powerful in their reference to the work of collectors of folk tunes and the importance of developing and promoting the tradition of learned aural culture.

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Peter Murray

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The Society enjoyed a splendid Summer Party at the Brunel Museum and the Rotherhithe Shaft – originally dug to provide access to the construction of the under-river tunnel in the 1820s and now converted into a dramatic performance space. We enjoyed a barbecue in the garden and jazz inside the shaft. It was well attended and a very jolly time was had by all.

It made me think how lively the Society is today – a group of people passionate about London’s past as well as its future. The Museum itself, as well the area around it, illustrates the richness of our heritage, the sort of place that makes London such a fascinating city and that provides the raison d’être of the Society. A most enjoyable event and I would particularly like to thank Rowena Ellims and Clare Ruby for the hard work they put in to make it such a success.

Peter Murray

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Peter Murray

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At the recent AGM I reported on our steadily growing membership, the increased numbers attending our events, and the setting up of the All Party Parliamentary Group for London’s Planning and Built Environment, for which we provide the Secretariat. I was glad to receive plaudits for the quality of the Journal and to be able to thank editors David Michon and Philippa Stockley.

I introduced our new Director Don Brown to the membership. Under Don’s guidance we plan to continue expansion of individual membership as well as seeking corporate supporters. Don has already radically improved the membership management systems and is now working to make the website more interactive. One of the key elements of the future programme will be a series of debates about issues relating to the changing face of London – about which, more later.

I was very pleased at the AGM to present framed prints as a thank you to Gayne Wells and to Clive Price for their services to the Society. Gayne is a past Chairman and in recent years has been looking after the library. Clive has played a key role in the resurgence of the Society.

Peter Murray

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