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Peter Murray


“This is a journal of journeys, urban excursions which take place both now and then, in times plural and space singular; one city, many cities.”

Come and listen to Robert Elms talk about his new book “London Made Us: a memoir of a shape-shifting city” at Southwark Cathedral on Thursday 25 April.

Tickets are £8, but the Cathedral have made 25 available to London Society members at the special price of just £6 – book on their website here using the promo code LondonSocietyElms

Robert Elms has seen his beloved city change beyond all imagining. London in his lifetime has morphed from a piratical, still bomb-scarred playground, to a swish cosmopolitan metropolis. Motorways driven through lost communities, murder miles becoming estate agents’ dreams, accents changing, towers appearing. Yet still it remains to him the greatest place on earth.

Elms takes us back through time and place to myriad Londons. He is our guide through a place that has seen scientific experiments conducted in subterranean lairs, a small community declare itself an independent nation and animals of varying exoticism roam free through its streets; a place his great-great-grandfather made the Elms’ home over a century ago and a city that has borne witness to epoch- and world-changing events.

Robert Elms is a broadcaster and writer, well-loved for his eponymous radio show on BBC Radio London. Elms started out as a journalist, writing for The Face and NME. He is a Londoner through and through, growing up in West London and living in the city for most of his life.

To buy tickets at the discounted price of £6, visit the Cathedral’s Eventbrite page here using the promo code LondonSocietyElms

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Peter Murray

The London Society recently organised an evening tour of this fascinating building. Rebecca Snow of Stiff+Trevillion reports.

Emerging from London Bridge tube station one is spat out into loud, brash 21st Century London. The Shard towers over commuters, traffic converges from every angle and trains trundle relentlessly overhead. However, nestled firmly in its place by the Thames sits Southwark Cathedral, oozing a quiet confidence that says, I have been here. I will continue to be here. This ancient building is not remotely out of place; in fact it is the contemporary architecture that looks awkward around it.

Gathering in Lancelot’s Link, part of Richard Griffiths Northern Cloister extension that opened in 2001 sitting very comfortably next to the Cathedral, it prepares visitors beautifully for stepping out into the main body of the cathedral. And it is a wonderful moment to look up into the vast cavernous ceiling that contrasts so well with the enclosed feeling of the Cloister.

Although billed as candlelit, electric lighting was also on offer to illustrate areas of this historic building candlelit would simply not show – and presumably to stop us all falling flat on our faces on the uneven floor. The tour began in perhaps the most spiritual space in the cathedral – certainly the oldest part of the building – the Retro Choir. Four small chapels dedicated to Mary were created, not to venerate the Mother of God but to allow the many priests serving in the 13th Century to fulfil their religious obligation of celebrating Mass each day. Interestingly for a Cathedral of this size there are no side chapels, these four small chapels behind the main altar were created for practical rather than spiritual reasons.

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Peter Murray

This event is now SOLD OUT!

Monday 5th March, 7:00 – 8:30

In association with Southwark Cathedral

To mark the release of Professor Richard Sennett‘s new publication Building and Dwelling: Ethics for the City, Southwark Cathedral and publisher Penguin Random House are delighted to host a panel discussion looking at how cities are built and how people live in them. The London Society has a limited number of tickets available to members.

Chaired by the Revd Canon Giles Goddard, Vicar at St John’s Waterloo the panel features some of London’s leading thinkers on the urban environment, Professor Richard Sennett, Mike Hayes and Noha Nasser. Please join us for what should be a fascinating discussion on the future of thriving ‘open’ cities.

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