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Peter Murray

 

We’re very pleased to announce that the 2018 Sir Banister Fletcher Lecture will be given by Ben Derbyshire, the President of the Royal Institute of British Architects, and will be held in the wonderful surroundings of the Jarvis Hall at the RIBA offices in Great Portland Street on 5 November.

Tickets are available here – free to members of the London Society. Non-members can get ‘early bird’ tickets for just £10 until 30 September (or join the Society and get a free ticket!).

As a global city, London is subject to market pressures beyond domestic control.  So how do we build “A City for all Londoners” and sustain the quality of life in our capital? London now languishes at no 48 in the ranking of liveable cities worldwide and pressures will increase as the population keeps rising.

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Peter Murray

 

September is a busy month with a series of fantastic talks, intriguing visits and an important debate. The Saturday Morning Planning School is back following the success of the Architecture School earlier this summer: knowledge of the complexities of London’s planning system is essential if one is to understand how this city is being shaped so this is a really important strand of the Society’s programme. The Behind the Scenes tours will take us into 30s town halls, one of the ‘Magnificent 7’ cemeteries, a school of architecture as well as the TUC’s Headquarters – a Modernist icon designed by the brilliant but unproductive David du Aberdeen. And we have an amazing line up for our Brexit debate: under the chairmanship of On London’s Dave Hill, Lord Adonis  and Caroline Pidgeon (Remain) and Daniel Moylan and a further speaker (Leave) go head-to-head on the outcome of the current negotiations and their effect on the capital. 

In the way that London’s history repeats itself Brexit reminds me of the Hanseatic League in London. It had been trading here since the 13th century, but their success riled the local merchants and in 1596 Queen Elizabeth I threw them out of the City. They had been based in the Steelyard (Stahlhof) on the river west of London Bridge, a walled compound which comprised warehouse, homes and a church, all destroyed in the Great Fire.  The League continued to own the site until 1852 when they sold it to the South Eastern Railway Company who built Cannon Street Station upon it. Only a plaque remains to remind us. Now wouldn’t make a good lecture!

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Peter Murray

 

After the success of the 2017 series, we are very pleased to announce five further talks in our ‘Planning School’. Book for all five for the price of just four – and non-members who book for the whole series will be given 12 months individual membership of the Society.

To find out more and to book, click here

The planning system is a complex world of jargon-filled regulations, inscrutable maps and emotionally charged meetings. It is inhabited by an unseemly mixture of politicians, developers and consultants, with ordinary local people often bearing the brunt of their deals in the high streets and neighbourhood roads where we live. It is often blamed for blighting our beloved places with ugly buildings, and yet is similarly accused of holding back the development we need to meet pentup housing demand.

Planning is one of the most visible and potent outworkings of our democracy. It is the forum that safeguards by law our rights as citizens to influence the places we live and work in the city.

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Peter Murray

 

One of the things that the Society has been attempting to do for the past couple of years is to plan much further ahead, so that members (and potential members) can see what’s coming up.

We’re very pleased therefore to be able to publish a programme for the rest of the year. Other events will be added, there will obviously be some minor alterations to talks and to schedules, and we’re still working on a venue for the Summer Party, but you are able to see the extent of the plans for the next months.

You can read the programme online below, or download a pdf here.

We’ve listed everything by month, then by theme on the back page. Events where we are currently selling tickets can be found here. To keep up to date with what is now on sale you should make sure you’re on our mailing list, or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

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Peter Murray

 

To mark the release of Professor Richard Sennett’s new publication Building and Dwelling: Ethics for the City, Southwark Cathedral and publisher Penguin Random House are delighted to host a panel discussion looking at how cities are built and how people live in them. The London Society has a limited number of tickets available for members, which can be purchased here.

Chaired by the Revd Canon Giles Goddard, Vicar at St John’s Waterloo the panel features some of London’s leading thinkers on the urban environment, Professor Richard Sennett, Mike Hayes and Noha Nasser, and this should be a fascinating discussion on the future of thriving ‘open’ cities.

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Peter Murray

 

Blue Badge Guide, David Thompson led a fascinating tour of one London’s best loved garden suburbs.

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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

img_1051-1Passions run high on all sides in discussions about the future of the Green Belt, but what, if anything, should be done? 

The Green Belt that has wrapped around London since the 1930s was created due, in large part, to the advocacy of the London Society, so we’re again taking the lead by debating how we can make this 20th Century solution for restricting the capital’s growth meet the challenges of the 21st. How could the Green Belt be improved to help the environment and better facilitate new housing?

Previous debates have tended to generate more heat than light, with speakers characterised as “for” or “against” the Green Belt. This London Society event will present a range of views and see if there are any approaches that can satisfy all parties. Speakers will present their thoughts and then be questioned by the Chair and by the audience.

Join us on 4 May for what is sure to be a lively, stimulating and interesting discussion. Tickets are now on sale here 

Speakers include:

  • Richard Knox Johnston, London Green Belt Council
  • Richard Upton, Deputy Chief Executive U+I plc
  • John Myers, London YIMBY
  • Alice Roberts, CPRE
  • Merrick Denton-Thompson, the Landscape Institute

Chaired by Paul Finch, editorial director of the Architects’ Journal

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