Currently showing blog posts for: June 2017 - . Go BACK to view all posts.
Peter Murray


Hackney Studios: East London creatives and their spaces

by Jenny Lewis

Hoxton Mini Press

Reviewed by Jessica Cargill Thompson

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

Hackney boasts more artists than any other part of the city, with Hackney Wick reputed to be the largest artists’ community in Europe. But street art and craft markets aside, much of the activity takes place behind closed doors.

This photo essay explores the challenges of working alone, and the need to feel connected to other human beings, but it is also a trail along the network of relationships across this creative hub, with each subject recommending the next. Photographer Jenny Lewis, who has lived in the area for more than 20 years, leads us on a highly personal tour, meeting animators, costume designers, sculptors, screenprinters, performance artists, musicians, and more. (Pictured on the cover is props and accessories designer Rosy Nichols who makes ‘things that sparkle’.)

The book has added poignancy, wondering how much longer East London’s artists and makers will be able to stay.

(This review originally appeared in edition 471 of the Journal of the London Society)

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Peter Murray

You’ve still just got time to catch the exhibition that has been put together by The Architects Benevolent Society as part of the London Festival of Architecture. Hosted by current ABS President, Angela Brady OBE at her Brady Mallalieu Architects studio in Caledonian Road, the exhibition – “Let us take you by the hand and lead you through some memories of London” – runs until this Friday 30th June, 1-6pm. The exhibition was opened by Rowan Moore, author of ‘Slow Burn City’ and architecture critic for the Observer, who gave an interesting and insightful talk.

In line with LFA’s theme of Memory, the exhibition features a range of images depicting significant personal memories of buildings or views in London, created by our beneficiaries and supporters, including some eminent architects and artists. The images capture the diversity of architecture in London, innovations throughout the years, as well as the personal stories which give insight into why such a lasting memory was evoked. The exhibition has been curated by some talented architecture students from the University of Westminster. Read more at

An online auction, which gives the opportunity to buy one of these truly impressive and personal pieces of art, is now open until 30th June. Proceeds from the auction will go towards helping those in the architectural community in times of need. Bid now at

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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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