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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

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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]

Read More…

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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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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 for details).

Get your tickets here.

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Peter Murray


The London Society needs you

We’re run with a small committee that gives of its time entirely voluntarily, two members of staff that work a couple of days a week, a freelance events person, a journal editor and designer (and contributors) who put in inordinate amounts of time and effort to get each issue out.

That gives members around 50 events a year (which had over 2,000 people come to them in 2016), two issues of the Journal, the Society’s representation in the APPG, and this blog and our social media.

We want to achieve more – more events, more publications, more members – and need help from members to do so. For example:

  • Helping out at events: anything from setting up the room to reporting on the discussion to go on the blog (you’d get free tickets of course).
  • Contributing to the blog or the journal: got something to say? Perhaps you’ve got journalistic or other writing experience and are keen to keep your hand in – we’d love to hear from you.
  • Marketing and PR: we want more people coming to our events and more people joining the Society. Can you help us with that?

If you feel you can spare some time – whether from the list above or on anything else – please email

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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


The Spring/Summer edition of the Journal of the London Society is now available.

Non-members can get a free copy by joining the Society (details here) or buy a copy here.

This issue marks 50 years since the 1967 Civic Amenities Act created the first official ‘conservation areas’ as a way of acknowledging the overall character of an area, rather than the merits of individual buildings. There are now more than 1,000 conservation areas in London alone, ranging from elegant Georgian squares and Art Deco housing estates, to places valued more for their community than their architecture, such as the Walworth Road.

London certainly has much worth cherishing – physically and culturally – but we cannot preserve the urban in aspic. Cities are living breathing organisms, they must grow, adapt and evolve. So how do we marry the concept of conservation with the need for continual change? Who chooses what stays and what goes, and according to what criteria? How do we use the best of the past and present to create a meaningful future? The Journal therefore both celebrates some of London’s most attractive conservation areas and hard-fought battles with the bulldozer, but interrogates the concept of conservation itself.


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Peter Murray

Join us to celebrate summer in style with food and drink at Oasis Farm, an urban farm tucked away in the heart of Waterloo just moments from the Southbank, and the closest farm to Parliament!

Opening in May 2015, Oasis has transformed a strip of wasteland into a flourishing community resource and a haven for nature, where the aim is to learn how to care for ourselves, others, plants, animals and the environment. Oasis’ vision is to provide a safe, supportive and inspiring space for the community the themes of food and farming are used to help people feel more connected, empowered and to reach their full potential.

Tickets for members and their guests cost just £25 and are available here. Non members tickets will be on sale from 13 June.

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Peter Murray


The latest edition (number 471) of the Journal of the London Society goes to print this week and will be posted out to members within the next fortnight.

If you want to receive your copy, join the Society today. Individual memberships are just £25, students pay just £15 and there are special rates for dual/family memberships and for businesses.

There’s a ‘conservation’ theme to Journal 471, with Peter Murray’s interview with Marcus Binney, founder of SAVE; our guide to eight of the best Conservation Areas; Frank Kelsall reflects on 50 years of the Civic Amenities Act; Tom Coward & Geoff Shearcroft of AOC Architecture explain why historic buildings should be brought back into the community; Emily Gee of Historic England calls for a new heritage strategy; Heather Cheesebrough says that conservation areas are over-zealously policed.

Read More…

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