The London Society is a forum for debate on the future of London.
Our motto: “antiqua tegenda, pulchra petenda, futura rolenda” translates to “Protect the best of the past; Strive for quality today; Plan properly for the future” – a mission that the Society still tries to achieve through its publications, events and lobbying.
We arrange events and visits to a variety of places, buildings and institutions, some not generally open to the public, organise debates and lectures, including the annual Sir Banister Fletcher Lecture, addressed by distinguished speakers. The Society also sponsors the All Party Parliamentary Group on London Planning and Built Environment.
Members get discounted tickets to all events, priority booking and, twice a year, the Society’s Journal.
An early leaflet gave the Society’s objects as ‘to draw together all Lovers of London’. Raffles Davison wrote ‘The chief issue is the good of London, its orderly and beautiful development, its general amenity as a place for business or pleasure’ and that the Society’s role was ‘to think about the Future of London and it’s improvement’ as well as ’the jealous preservation of all that is old and beautiful in London as far as is possible.’ These aims of the Society hold good even today.
In 1919 the Society published its own Development Plan for London – one of the first London Plans – its call for green spaces in the outer suburbs was a precursor of the Green Belt legislation and the area covered in the plan foreshadowed the designation of the enlarged municipal areas. In the inter-war years the Society worked on more detailed plans for the central area during a period when there was little political interest in spatial planning.
When Patrick Abercrombie was appointed to prepare a London Plan in 1941 he wrote to Lord Esher, the Chairman of the London Society, to make clear that he would only undertake the work on condition that he follow the course taken by the London Society and work on the Greater London Region as a whole.