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Peter Murray

 

It is the most significant event to affect London for a generation, so the London Society felt that Brexit needed to be debated, and its effects on the capital explored. Saul Collyns reports on the London Brexit Debate held at the Conway Hall on 13 September.

Victoria Hewson, Daniel Moylan Dave Hill (Chair), Sara John and Caroline Pidgeon

With parliament back from summer recess and Brexit looming ever closer, the London Society and OnLondon debate ‘this house believes Brexit will be good for London’ was impassioned, and sharpened by a focus on specific impacts on London. Given that London voted 60% for remain in the referendum, it was not surprising that when Chair Dave Hill asked the audience which way they had voted around two thirds raised their hands for remain. Nevertheless, fervent arguments were put forward by the high calibre speakers – ex Boris Johnson advisor and Deputy Leader of Kensington and Chelsea Daniel Moylan and Victoria Hewson of the Institute of Economic Affairs arguing that Brexit will be good for London, with Liberal Democrat London Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon and Sara John of Best for Britain arguing that Brexit will have detrimental impact.

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Peter Murray

 

Earlier this year (May 10th) the London Society held an informal Writing London event looking at London OnLine.

As well as interesting and entertaining talks from brilliant London bloggers Dave Hill of On London, Katie Wignall of Look Up London, and Andrew Grumbridge and Vince Raison of the Deserter, many other bloggers in the audience shared their insights and experiences.

As a result, we’d like to put together a list of great London blogs, as recommended by London Society members. To start you off, here are some that were mentioned at the event, but please do send us your own suggestions so we can share them with the rest of the London Society:

What other London blogs are worth reading?: follow this link and let us know your favourites.

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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

 

We’re delighted that this year’s pre-Christmas talk will be given by Matt Brown, editor-at-large of the Londonist website and author of (among many other books) “Everything you know about London is Wrong“.

Matt will share stories from some of the most intriguing of his perambulations around the capital. Find out what happens behind the lights of Piccadilly Circus; how to stand on the weather vane of St Bride’s; the secret rooms and relics of St Paul’s; and how to dress yourself in the morning when your day includes a trip down the Northern Outfall Sewer AND the press launch of a new sherry bar.

And there’ll be myths shattered, legends overturned and long-held “facts” disproved as Matt shares gems from Everything you know about London is Wrong.

Matt’s book makes an ideal stocking-filler – we’ll have some to purchase at the event – and we round off the evening in traditional style, with mince pies, drinks and other festive goodies.

I hope you can join us – tickets are available 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


A new ‘pass-it-on pamphlet’ which seeks to raise awareness of London’s housing crisis and possible solutions has just been launched, which you can read above. 2000 copies of the HOUSE ME LONDON are being distributed to generate public discussion and stimulate a social media campaign around the city’s housing crisis.

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Peter Murray

 

Discover how London’s architecture has evolved over time, with this series of Saturday morning talks.

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People have been telling us that there are some aspects of London they want to learn more about, or to understand better. So the London Society are planning a series of informal Saturday Schools.

The first of these is on ‘the evolution of London architecture: five talks to help you gain a better appreciation of the history of London’s built environment.

If you book for all five classes in the School you will pay for just four – so that’s just £28 for members and £20 for student members. Non-members can book all five classes for £53 – which includes a year’s individual membership of the Society. You can find out more here.

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Peter Murray

 

logoWe all know that one of the best ways to see more of London is on foot, and that a guide-led walk can reveal many lesser-known aspects of the city.

That probably explains the popularity of the Walk London programme which has been organising free guided walks within the capital since 2007.

The walks, funded by Transport for London and delivered by Walk Unlimited, happen three times a year, in January, May and September. The next weekend takes place on the 28 and 29 January 2017.

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Peter Murray

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This is London

by Ben Judah

Reviewed by Louis Wilkins

Available from the London Society Book Service in association with John Sandoe Bookshop

[This review appeared in the Journal of the London Society, edition 470. More details here.]

Ben Judah’s eye-opening account of London’s hidden population of Roma beggars and street musicians, of West Indian cocaine dealers, Filipina maids, of pimps and prostitutes and African carers is a timely reminder of the changing make-up of the capital, its increasing levels of inequality as well as the wider pressures of economic migration which, Brexit or no, will continue to have a major impact on our economy and society.

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Peter Murray

 

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As you may already know, the London Society provides the secretariat for the All-Party Parliamentary Group on London’s Planning and the Built Environment (you can find more details here).

Its brief is “To explore the social, economic and environmental issues affecting London at a strategic level and build consensus as to the ways in which these might be addressed.”

The Annual General Meeting of the Group will be held on 11 January 2017 at the Houses of Parliament. If you would like to attend (and to receive information about future APPG meetings) please enter your details in the form below.

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