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Peter Murray


175BLACKDuring the first week of May, St. James’s Square will be playing host to a memorable line up of events designed to commemorate the 175th anniversary of The London Library – one of the world’s great literary institutions and the Square’s longest standing resident.

At the heart of the anniversary festivities is Words In The Square – a three-day celebration directed by writer and director James Runcie and by historian David Kynaston, which features sixteen fascinating talks, debates and discussions on literature & writing, history, art, comedy, science – and cricket!

London Society members might be particularly interested in the talk on Sunday 8 May, “London and The Blitz”.  The most significant and frightening episode in London’s history since the Plague and the Great Fire almost three centuries earlier, the Bitz threw up a whole subsequent mythology. The three speakers at the talk give us the rounded reality. Lara Feigel (The Love-charm of Bombs; The Bitter Taste of Victory) evokes the literary and romantic dimensions; Juliet Gardiner (The Blitz; Wartime; The Thirties) takes us to the heart of the action, and to how Londoners responded; while Max Hastings authoritatively puts the Blitz in the larger context of the war. All nations have their collective myths: this event, chaired by David Kynaston, examines one of our most resonant.


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Peter Murray


The most recent issue of the Journal of the London Society focussed on ‘Making London’, the vast array of different businesses and industries that still have their home in the capital. An exhibition at the Institution of Civil Engineers also uses this theme in part of the works on display.

River People, an exhibition by Wandsworth-based photographer Matthew Joseph, runs from 22 April until 3 June and documents the lives of people who use the tidal river for work, leisure or travel. It features a number of images from the Superhighway Collection which look at how the Thames has become an integral part of life for residents of London.

River People 1_Retouch_MJP-1LR

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Peter Murray


b9f7ade8-31b2-4af6-82c6-38112171ff08Setting out a new and dynamic viewpoint on London, in this year’s Banister Fletcher lecture renowned architect and urban planner Sir Terry Farrell will join up the dots and reveal new connections between London’s past, present and future.

Looking beyond the contribution of individual buildings to the city, Sir Terry will explore on a larger canvas how the capital’s complex shape has evolved over time, and also reflect on current pressures on the city and its built environment.

The debate will take place on 8 November. Tickets are free to London Society members (you can find details of how to join the Society here).



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Peter Murray

Welcome to issue 469, which is crammed with even more features and pictures than the last.

Made in London is such a big topic that this journal could easily have been a book. Its pages bring the glittering kaleidoscope that is London today into focus, a city built on so many incarnations of skill and structure that, as towers spring up, it evolves in front of our eyes. But it is the people who design and make things who are the lifeblood of this glorious place — whatever bankers like to think.

Chief GLA regeneration officer Levent Kerimol looks at the small industries being squeezed in the East — the examples he gives are fascinating, some quite unexpected. A photo essay by Grant Smith of these hard workers, from the cheesemakers to the beer brewers, is at the heart of the journal. There’s also a piece on the oldest tailor on Savile Row, whose cutters are as skilled at intuitive tectonics as many architects. But where that company relies on tradition, others rely on new techniques to get ahead, with the new discipline of so-called “empathic design”.

A piece on the Isokon building in Hampstead examines how that meticulously considered building, unique to London, could have a role today in informing how best to build a new generation of affordable homes. We look at ancient London edifices, from churches, photographed over a 25-year period by David Secombe, to the Tower of London, in a book reviewed by novelist Giles Waterfield. Plus there’s a first-person take on London by someone themselves “made in London” — MP Rupa Huq, one of the increasingly rare, and very proud, born-and-bred Londoners.

Last, for readers of a creative bent, we’ve got an exclusive excerpt from a forthcoming book by Phaidon, which shows how to make a chair out of a discarded pallet. Designed by world-famous UK-based designer Martino Gamper, it is London upcycling at its idiosyncratic and distinctive best.

You can buy a copy of the Journal for just £7.50 (p+p free in the UK). Just click here.


Philippa Stockley

LS | LSJ469 Cover


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Peter Murray


Those of you who tried to log onto this site over the past week will have been ‘greeted’ with a ‘website not found’ message, and the eagle-eyed among you will have noticed that most of what is currently on the site is a little out of date.

That’s because we were a victim of our hosting company, 123-Reg, wiping thousands of websites and all the back-up files. Fortunately, the person looking after our site was able to reconstruct the pages from the original designs. (We are moving hosting companies.)

Over the next week we will attempt to get back to normal, with a range of blog posts and updates for the latest events.

Membership systems are now running okay, so those of you who haven’t been able to join because of the problems can do so here.

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