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Peter Murray

 

This year’s AGM is on the horizon – date and venue to be confirmed, but likely to be the first week of July – so now is a good time to consider joining the Society’s executive committee.

All members of the Society are eligible to put themselves up for a committee role, but there are some ‘skill shortages’ that we would be keen to fill.

If you have experience in ENGINEERING or skills in PR or MARKETING, or work for a DEVELOPER or PROPERTY FIRM, or have TRUSTEE EXPERIENCE for another charity, we would love to hear from you.

If you are interested in joining the committee – whether or not you match these criteria – please email the director for more information.

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Peter Murray

 

In the latest edition of the Journal of the London Society, Mark Prizeman revisits past Journals to find out what the London Society was up to 50 and 100 years ago.

50 years ago: Greenbelts, London Estates and early thoughts for a Congestion Charge (December 1968 and March 1969)

A report on a ‘Greenbelt Drive in Surrey’ with maps and commentary given by the County planning members and Officers of the County who planned the route, concludes that: ‘Surrey is indeed to be congratulated on the beauty of its countryside and the care they are taking to preserve so much for the delight of future generations.’ A couple of visits to interesting London buildings housing other societies are noted along with a talk by Stuart Weir given to the Society on De Beauvoir Town in Hackney that is reported in full ‘by way of an experiment [as we] are only half way through our researches into the past of the area, and my talk is one way of finding out just how much we have discovered – and how interesting it is,’ part of an ongoing lecture programme on the London Estates.

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Peter Murray

 

In another article from the latest issue of the Journal of the London Society, Emily Gee, London Planning Director at Historic England, argues that history provides the roots for great places.

It is a principle of good urban design that before pencil reaches tracing paper, a designer needs a thorough understanding of the history and significance of the place. Great contextual development responds to history and our most successful places have history at their heart. Gillian Tindall’s seminal urban history, The Fields Beneath, continuously in print now for over 40 years, takes one London village – Kentish Town – and applies a thoughtful historical lens to encourage a rich and deep understanding of urban layers. This approach can happen in any place, and knowing that former field boundaries, rivers and earlier settlement patterns have influenced modern routes, street names and architectural design can enrich a development and the lives of people there now.

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Peter Murray

 

In the introduction to the latest edition of the Journal of the London Society (available to purchase here), London Society Chairman Peter Murray introduces our new motto.

Over the past year or so the Society has been giving a lot of thought to our purpose and how to explain it. There has, for some time, been a feeling that the Latin motto that has served us well for the past hundred years is in need of modernisation. Antiqua Tegenda, Pulchra Petenda, Futura Colenda doesn’t do it for a younger generation. Even the rough translation ‘look after the old, seek the beautiful, cultivate the future‘ sounds somewhat laboured. What we needed was an ‘elevator pitch’ – a ready and meaningful answer for when someone asks, ‘What does the Society do? What is it for?

We didn’t want to change those basic tenets of the Society set out by our founding members, but we did want to bring them up to date. Just as the old Latin motto suggested a respect for the history of the capital in its cultivation of the future, we knew we should respect the Society’s own history as we developed its mission for the 21st century. To do so, we needed to look back at those early days.

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Peter Murray

 

The London Society is the forum for debate on how we can make this city a better place in which to live and to work.

To promote this exchange of ideas and views, we have set up a Facebook group where you can discuss the new developments that you think add or detract from the urban realm; the good and bad changes taking place; the problems and solutions to housing, transport, pollution, city growth, green space and the other factors that make the capital what it is.

If you are on Facebook, you can be part of the debate by clicking here to go to the ‘join’ page of the group. You will then be able to post content that you feel strongly about, engage in discussions about the future of the capital’s urban realm and invite other friends and colleagues to join.

We look forward to welcoming you and to hearing your views.

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Peter Murray

 

Peter Murray, Chair of the London Society, explains the thinking behind our new motto.

“So what’s our elevator pitch?” said Darryl. “What do we say when someone asks what the London Society is all about?” “Antiqua Tegenda, Pulchra Petenda, Futura Colenda”, I answer.

Darryl is not impressed. “Nah! That’s no way to get younger members to join up. Or to get anyone to join up for that matter. Too ancient!”

While the translation of our motto – “look after the old, seek the beautiful, cultivate the future” – might still hold good, we felt we needed something more engaging if the Society is to achieve is aim of growing its membership and increasing its relevance in the discussion around planning and architecture in the capital. We wish to engage the widest possible groups in that debate, so clarity is important.

We asked ourselves: why are we are running the Society and what is the thinking that drives our programme? We picked up on the theme that was as relevant when the Society was founded in 1912 as they are now: that London’s future must be shaped by both contemporary culture as well as its rich and layered history.

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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

 

The 2018 Programme for Open House London for the weekend of 22-23 September has been published (you can see it here). And if you’re a supporter of the London Society and going to any of these events, we’d like to enlist your help.

Tens of thousand of people attend Open House, many of whom will be interested in the London Society’s work and our events – but they may never of heard of us.

We’d like to send you a couple of dozen Society leaflets to give to people you may meet in the queue, get into conversation with, go along to see a building with.

Just let us have your name and address (fill out the form here) and we’ll pop an envelope of our material across to you before 15th September.

If you’re a member of any civic societies, professional bodies or other interest groups and would like some London Society leaflets to hand out, please let us have your address and we’ll get a handful off to you.

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Peter Murray

 

The 2018 AGM of the Society was on Monday 16 July 2018 at 6.30pm at Allies & Morrison, 85 Southwark Street, London, SE1 0HX.

The draft MINUTES of the meeting can be downloaded here. The minutes will be formally approved at the 2019 AGM.

The 2017 ACCOUNTS (which were approved at the AGM) may be downloaded here.

 

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Peter Murray

 

We’re delighted to announce a new speaker for the London Brexit Debate on 13 September.

Joining Lord Adonis and Daniel Moylan will be Caroline Pidgeon MBE, London Assembly member and former Lib Dem candidate for the Mayoralty.

‘Early Bird’ tickets for the debate are still available, meaning London Society members can attend for as little as £5. Full information can be found here.

The London Brexit Debate will be held at the Conway Hall, Red Lion Square on the evening of Thursday 13 September and will be chaired by Dave Hill of the On London website.

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