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Peter Murray

 

On 5 December, Matt Brown, editor at large of the Londonist and author of Everything You Know About London is Wrong, gave the Christmas talk to the Society members at the offices of Pilbrow & Partners in St John’s Square. Jo East reports.

Founded 14 years ago by Matt and other likeminded enthusiasts for all things London, and described by Frank Skinner as “the thinking person’s guide to London” the Londonist has grown to be an online font of knowledge about both London’s current events, and its history and myths. Over the years this has given Matt privileged access to areas denied to most people and Matt took us on a tour of literally the highs and the lows of his time at the Londonist – roofs and tunnels.

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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

 

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

 

As part of the Society’s London Icons series, Emily Gee, Historic England’s London Planning Director, looked at the historic context of building tall in London – Finbar Bradley reports:

In recent times the structures that most people would perceive as iconic have tended to be London’s new breed of tall buildings. On Thursday night and firmly with our feet on the ground at Cowcross Street, the London Society heard a dynamic “short history of London” from the 1600’s until the present. Emily Gee of Historic England took people on a journey from the disasters which brought about planning reform, through the backlash of early attempts to create tall buildings and to future possibilities.

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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

 

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

 

What a wonderfully diverse and unconventional city London is!

What a treat that we can hold our Summer Party in farm not half a mile from the Palace of Westminster. In a new barn at that, designed by a top young architectural practice – Feilden Fowles – with an innovative structure and striking interior. Don’t miss it!

The rich mix of development that forms the character of London’s places has been the focus of Historic England’s recent report entitled Translating Good Growth for London’s Historic Environment which advises the Mayor of London how this distinctness should be recognised in his new London Plan. Emily Gee, London Planning Director at Historic England will be talking in September on the topic of tall buildings and how they can be integrated successfully into a historic city. The View Management Framework is the current mechanism for doing this. Following the row about a tall building in Stratford being visible behind St Paul’s Dome when viewed from King Henry’s Mound at Richmond, Sadiq Khan has said he is going to take another look at the subject.

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Peter Murray

 

We are looking for stories and contributions for the next issue of the London Society’s Journal.

We also need someone with print production experience to volunteer as a subeditor. This would require carefully fact-checking, editing and styling the copy as it comes in (spread out over end of September and early October).

In particular we will be exploring the theme of:

‘A city for 10 million inhabitants’

We would like to interpret this theme quite broadly and look at the different aspects of London life that are affected by a booming population – not just planning or housing.

We would like to hear about any organisations, thinkers, professionals, community groups etc working on projects – small scale or large – that offer inspiration.

Types of pieces we run:

  • 500 word opinion pieces
  • short case studies of relevant interesting projects by architects, urbanists, artists, academics, community groups,
  • 1,000 word think pieces and reports
  • personal profiles/interviews
  • photography, illustration, graphic data visualisation

Deadlines: Once commissioned, we will need pieces to be written by the end of September in order to have enough time for design & layout.

Sadly we are unable to pay anyone for their contributions, but will happily plug any websites, blogs, recent publications, upcoming events, etc in exchange. And of course you will not only be helping to make the Journal even better, but contributing to informed ongoing debate amongst London Society members and beyond.

If you’d like to contribute, or want to let us know about any projects you think might be worth us covering, do get in touch at info@londonsociety.org.uk

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Peter Murray
APPG London Planning and Built Environment

photo ©Agnese Sanvito

The All Parliamentary Group for London’s Planning and Built Environment gathered in Portcullis House last week to hear a panel of experts on the implications of Grenfell Tower for London’s housing stock.

The session was introduced by Rupa Huq, MP for Ealing Central and Acton, and NLA chairman, Peter Murray, who said it was important to learn from events and ensure that the right mechanisms are in place so similar disasters do not happen again.

[The minutes of the meeting can be downloaded here]

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Peter Murray

 

The ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING of THE LONDON SOCIETY was held on Monday 26 June 2017  at the offices of Allies & Morrison, 85 Southwark Street, London, SE1 0HX.

40 or so members were present. The slides from the Chairman’s, Treasurer’s and Director’s presentations can be seen below, and you can download the minutes of the meeting here.

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