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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


KdPd-xTe_400x400In wishing all members of the Society and visitors to this site the compliments of the Festive Season, I would like to thank you for supporting the work we have been doing to celebrate and debate this wonderfully complex and endlessly fascinating city.

Over the year we have organised a busy programme of events which have been well attended and covered a wide range of topics; the membership has grown steadily and I am pleased to say that we have attracted a substantial number of younger members, which bodes well for the future. We have published a very attractive Journal and organised a number of events with the All Party Parliamentary Group on London’s Planning and Built Environment.

In the New Year we will be engaging with the Mayor’s consultation on the new London Plan, organising visits – including a series to some of London’s Great Estates, ancient and modern – as well as walks and talks.

We are keen to further increase the number of members – so, if you haven’t joined up yet, please do so for 2017; if you have friends who you think would like to join, please pass on information about the London Society, or consider giving a Gift Membership.

We also have a Corporate Membership class, so if you work for, run or have contacts with a company you think might like to support the work we do please pass on the details or let Director Don Brown know.

Wishing you all the best for 2017 and I look forward to seeing you at lots of events during the year.


Peter Murray, Chair, The London Society



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Peter Murray


Zac versus Sadiq: the fight to become London mayor

by Dave Hill

Reviewed by Peter Murray

For dozens of recommended London Books, check out 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.]

Dave Hill is one of the most perceptive and passionate chroniclers of London and this book, completed 10 days after the mayoral election, is not just a tale of two politicians fighting over one of the best (or, at least, most high-profile) jobs in the business, but a succinct summary of the London issues that politicians find important, or think that we find important.

Read More…

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