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Peter Murray

 

Members are the lifeblood of the London Society, helping fund our events, publications and the work we do with the All-Party Parliamentary Group.

More than that, the engaged membership that we have gets involved in the talks and debates we hold, comes on the tours and walks, and contributes to the discussion on the sort of capital city that we want.

If you’re interested in making London a better place in which to live and to work, want to know more about the city’s history and development, enjoy seeing ‘behind the scenes’ at famous buildings and architects’ practices, then you really need to become a member.

And this is the best time at which to join. In the New Year, membership rates increase, so if you join now, you can save up to £10 off.

The spring 2018 events programme is taking shape (you can download the current list here) with booking open to members for several events.

Many of our events sold out in 2017, so if you want to make sure that you don’t miss a talk or tour that you’re really interested in, then becoming a member gives you priority booking as well as discounted tickets.

We have nearly 1,000 individual members now and hope to get this to 1,500 next year. Join today and you’ll be part of a growing society that is educating, informing and entertaining its members. Click here for more information.

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Peter Murray

 

We mentioned the new film London Symphony in an earlier blog post, and I’m delighted to say that The London Society has secured some tickets for a screening of the film to be held at Southwark Cathedral on 23 February. After the film there will be a Q+A with the director. More details here.

London Symphony is a modern day ‘city symphony’, shot in black and white at over 300 locations around the capital and with an original soundtrack by the Convent Garden Sinfonia, it shows glimpses of the vibrance and diversity of the capital.

The screening will take place in the beautiful candlelit Cathedral nave and will be followed by a Q&A with the Sub Dean & Canon Pastor Michael Rawson and the Director, Alex Barrett.

The film was nominated for the Michael Powell Award for Best British Film at the Edinburgh International Film Festival 2017.

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Peter Murray

Want to distinguish your Garden City from your City Garden? Want to learn how we went from Green Belt to Green Growth? The London Society’s Saturday Morning City Planning School is for you! Following on from this spring’s immensely successful Architecture School, this new series of talks seeks to provide an overview of how and why our cities have grown in the way they have, with a focus on London.

To find out more and to book for the whole series click here. To book individual talks, go to the events page.

We’ll explore the history of London’s development over the past 2000 years and its urban revival in the past quarter of a century. We’ll explain how decisions are made and how the idea of “affordable” housing, which dominates the media, has emerged over two centuries of debate to the viability-driven decision-making of today. Leading the course will be an expert line-up of speakers, from academia and practice, sharing their experience with an overview of how our city (and cities) have been managed over time and what the future holds.

Details of the five classes, which will be held in the Building Centre in Store Street, WC1 (in association with the Building Environment Trust), can be found here here. If you book the whole series of five, you’ll pay for just four, and non-members who book the whole series will receive a free 12-month membership of the Society.

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Peter Murray

 

The Institute of Historical Research with the Centre for Metropolitan history are running a project called Stray Voices which aims to stimulate insights into the buried stories of homeless men and women whose voices remain silent or unheeded within the historical record.

Can exploring the images and realities of vagrancy sharpen our understanding of ‘settled’ communities, which have otherwise been articulated from a sedentary perspective?

Involving specialists in the history of vagrancy, creative practitioners, community activists, members of the public and those who have experience of homelessness, the project will look at how history has shaped our preconceptions relating to those with ‘no fixed abode’.

As part of the project there will be series of participative events – including a two-day conference, a research-guided walk, and a forum theatre workshop – details of which can be found here.

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Peter Murray

 

A new independent silent film called London Symphony begins screening this week. It is a modern day ‘city symphony’, a genre of filmmaking that flourished in the 1920s, and consisted of films that attempted to build poetic portraits of city life.

Shot in black and white at over 300 locations around the capital and with an original soundtrack by the Convent Garden Sinfonia, it shows glimpses of the vibrance and diversity of Greater London and will be screened in over 35 venues around the UK from September 3rd. This includes three special events taking place amongst the diverse communities that inspired the production: at the Barbican Centre (on September 3rd), the Alexandra & Ainsworth Housing Estate (on September 17th), and the Shree Ghanapathy Temple in Wimbledon (on October 28th). These three events, which are supported by the Arts Council England, will include live performances of the soundtrack, as well as a panel discussion featuring the filmmakers and a local history expert unique to each venue.

The film was nominated for the Michael Powell Award for Best British Film at the Edinburgh International Film Festival 2017.

The London Society has secured some tickets for the London Symphony screening at Southwark Cathedral on 23 February. After the film there will be a Q+A with the director. More details here.

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Peter Murray

building environment trust logo

On Wednesday 20 September there is an evening lecture at the Building Centre in Store Street on two of London’s most iconic concrete developments: Centre Point and the White Collar Factory.

The lecture is part of The Concrete Centre’s 70 years of Concrete Quarterly exhibition programme, supported by the Built Environment Trust.

Gavin Miller, Partner at Rick Mather Architects, and Tim Bowder-Ridger, CEO and Senior Partner at Conran and Partners, will discuss Centre Point. The talk will present a preview of the remodelling and refurbishment of Centre Point tower, which has given the concrete icon a new lease of life.

Stephen Taylor, Associate Director of Allford Hall Monaghan Morris (AHMM), and Rob Partridge, Director of AKT II, will give an insight into the design and collaboration behind the newly completed White Collar Factory. The office development at City Road is a new concept in work place environment, featuring exposed concrete, core cooling and smart technology.

Tickets are free but booking is essential – click here for more details.

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Peter Murray

 

London has the greatest collection of urban parks in the world. They are the city’s ‘lungs’, a place of tranquility in an increasingly frenetic metropolis and a haven for all sorts of wildlife.

But from the arrival of new plant diseases to the sheer weight of visitors (77 million a year, and growing), these superb open spaces face many challenges, as Loyd Grossman CBE, first Chairman of the Royal Parks will explain in this year’s Banister Fletcher lecture on 17 October.

The eight Royal Parks stretching from Bushy in the West to Greenwich in the East are amongst London’s greatest and most distinctive assets and now under the management of an independent charity on behalf of the nation.

In a society which fetishises selfishness and disdains the communal, the defence of the public realm is more important than ever. Loyd will explain the value the Parks give to the capital, the challenges they face, how different users’ needs are balanced, and how these historic spaces can continue to be a resource for Londoners in the future.

The Banister Fletcher lecture is free to members of the London Society, and £14 for non-members. Tickets are available here.

 

Loyd Grossman CBE, is the first Chairman of The Royal Parks. He is also a patron of the Association for Heritage Interpretation and Heritage Open Days, President of the National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Societies (NADFAS) and Chairman of the Heritage Alliance.

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Peter Murray

Tickets are now available to non-members for the Society’s summer party on 10 August. Join us for food and drink, and listen to live music as you catch up with old friends and meet new people at the social event of the year.

We’ve gone full rus in urbe this time round, with the party being hosted at the Oasis City Farm, a stone’s throw from Grimshaw’s old Waterloo International, tucked into a corner of the Archbishop’s Park in SE1.

Opened in 2015, Oasis have transformed this strip of land into a vibrant community resource, connecting children of the city with food and farming. There’ll be an opportunity to examine the magnificent new wooden barn (by architects Feilden Fowles) and to hear more about the project, its achievements so far, and its vision for the future.

Tickets are limited and last year’s summer party sold out, so make sure you don’t miss out. Members can buy tickets for themselves and their guests for just £25, non-members tickets are £35. Corporate Supporters are entitled to up to five free tickets (please email director@londonsociety.org.uk for details).

Get your tickets here.

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Peter Murray

 

In May and June the Society ran a series of five Saturday morning talks in the Building Centre in central London.

The series was designed to give non-professionals an overview on the evolution of the capital’s architecture, and we were fortunate to be able to call upon several knowledgable speakers: Alex Forshaw on medieval London; Dr Geoffrey Tyack on the Georgian city; Susie Barson on Victorian developments; Alan Powers on the city between the wars; and Chris Rogers on the contemporary city.

Each of the five talks had over 80 attendees, so it seems that we have tapped into something that is of great interest to both members and non-members and we’re currently looking at future series – there will certainly be something this autumn and we will develop the architecture theme in 2018.

The illustrations used by each of the speakers can be found here. For future courses we will look to publishing the information in some form.

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Peter Murray

 

London Society members are warmly invited to attend The Literary London Society’s annual conference, which will be held on the 13-14th July 2017 at Senate House. This year’s theme is ‘Fantastic London: Dream, Speculation and Nightmare’. Plenary speakers are as follows:

  • Darran Anderson (author of Imaginary Cities) – After London: What Apocalyptic Visions Tell Us about the City, from the Medieval to the Modern
  • Dr Caroline Edwards (Birkbeck) – Armchair Apocalypse, or, Why Destroying London in Speculative Literature is So Enjoyable
  • Prof Rohan McWilliam (Anglia Ruskin) – The Cultural Work of the Victorian West End of London

Conference attendees will also have exclusive access to the ‘Talking Orwell’ installation, organised by The Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (UCL).

For additional promotional information and details of how to register please click here.

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