Saturday Morning Architecture School: Edwardian Architecture
The Cass, 16 Goulston Street, E1 7TP
Tube: Aldgate East (District, Hammersmith & City lines)

The brilliant modernity and artistic achievement of London’s Edwardian Architecture
Saturday, 23 June, 11:30 - 12:30

An understanding and appreciation of the London’s Edwardian building boom is essential for navigating London’s architectural scene today.

In the Edwardian period the City’s and most of London’s West End was rebuilt. The new architecture that replaced the faded Georgian capital was supremely confident, beautifully detailed using high-quality materials, and adopted all the latest technological advances available to the 20thcentury architect and engineer.

Benedict O'Looney (Benedict O'Looney Architects) looks at the both the stylistic and technological sources of London’s Edwardian scene. It shows how the brilliant architect Norman Shaw found a way out of the ‘battle of the styles’ that characterised high Victorian Architecture and how Shaw and his pupils & followers set the high artistic standards, and paths, that British architecture was to follow into the twentieth century.

We will look at the two principal design currents of Fin de Siècle London: the changeful Arts and Crafts ‘Edwardian Free Style’ and the Classical revival brilliantly led by Edwin Lutyens.

We will also look at how progressive architects and engineers battled with London’s antiquated building control laws to introduce fully steel framed buildings and show that behind the immaculately detailed Portland Stone, glazed brick and terracotta facades, the modern structures and services we take for granted in building today are first to be found.

1930s LONDON: Behind the Scenes: 2 Willow Road
2 Willow Road, NW3 1TH, 25 may attend.
Tube: Hampstead (Northern line), Hampstead Heath (London Overground)

Friday, 29 June, 11:00 – 12:00

Join The London Society for this very special curator led tour of one of London’s most treasured 1930s homes.  Designed by acclaimed architect Ernö Goldfinger in 1939, this unique and surprising Modernist home was inhabited by four generations of his family. The house paints a vivid picture of the urban creative and social circles of the mid-20th century through Goldfinger’s modern art collection, innovative designs and intriguing personal possessions.

1–3 Willow Road was constructed using concrete and a facing of red brick.  Number 2, which Goldfinger designed specifically as his own family home, is the largest of the three houses and features a spiral staircase designed by Danish engineer Ove Arup at its core.

Note that if you are a National Trust member, entry is free to Willow Road. Your ticket purchase for this tour with the Society will act as a deposit and we will arrange the necessary refund after the tour. You will need to take your NT card on the date of the tour.

Saturday Morning Architecture School: 21st Century Design
The Cass, 16 Goulston Street, E1 7TP
Tube: Aldgate East (District, Hammersmith & City lines)

Why design in the 21st Century?
Saturday, 30 June, 11:30 - 12:30

The way we make space in 21st century London is shaped through global consumption. The city is less a place to innovate your industry – more a place to hold your assets. In a metropolis that is ‘full' your back yard is in demand - banked as speculation, bartered for a return, and borrowed in the meantime to have a purpose. Everyone can feel powerless against this well-oiled machine of change.

Construction has been managed into a foregone conclusion – such and such at a certain rate defines the quantum. An architect’s service has been streamlined to manage the gestural implications of each crucial yet crude balance struck between the developer and the city politician. As predicted 30 years prior the semiotic skin slips onto a frame that could hold any number of pepper potted tenure blind ever less affordable uses.

It’s a place where appearances matter – and the new breed of place makers work hard tidying up the edges and the in-betweens of the main property prize – making a new type of conversation with the many local voices, less profitable needs and bottom up opportunities of the city.

Join Tom Coward (AOC Architecture Ltd) as he explores the question - Why design in the 21st Century?


London the Market: The city’s railhead markets
Allies and Morrison, 85 Southwark Street, SE1 0HX
Tube: London Bridge (Jubilee and Northern lines), Southwark (Jubilee line)

Tuesday, 3 July, 6:30 – 8:30

Railways radically altered all produce markets removing the old requirement for cows to be kept close to the city in order to provide fresh milk, fish could come from Aberdeen without being smoked or smelly, potatoes from Lincolnshire without wearing out teams of horses.  Long distance speedy supply opened up the opportunity for railhead markets. 

Eric Reynolds continues our look at London's markets. 

Beyond the Eye
Starbucks, Belvedere Road, SE1 7GQ, 25 may attend.
Tube: Waterloo (Bakerloo, Jubilee, Northern lines, National Rail) Waterloo East (National Rail)

Saturday, 7 July, 10:30 – 12:30

The South Bank has been referred to as the Cultural Heart of London – a West-End-on-Thames! Most people head there to enjoy a ride on the area’s largest attraction - the London Eye. The South Bank is very popular with a tendency to be crowded, which is not everyone’s idea of a fun day out.  Blue Badge Guide Angela Morgan leads us to discover the alternative (quieter) side of the South Bank. 

This walking tour will take you away from the hustle and bustle. We'll find out what the area was like in 1951; why is there a statue of a lion on Westminster Bridge? The walk also includes some of the nearby streets and archways; we will see where the dead were carried by train to a cemetery in Surrey; view street art that includes the words of a local 19th Century poet and thinker; we visit Lower Marsh Market. We see where the Royal Shakespeare Theatre Company had its first home, and discover where the Father of the Modern Circus had his first performance space. What did Prince Charles think of the architectural style of the buildings on the South Bank?  There will be more to see and experience along the way.


London Icons: Industrial Dagenham Docks
Dagenham Dock railway station, RM9 6EG, 25 may attend.
Tube: Trains from Fenchurch Station

Wednesday, 11 July, 6:00 – 8:00

Dagenham is instantly associated with the huge Ford factory that opened in 1931. However the Dagenham Dock has an industrial history going back to the early 1800's. 

Guide, Rob Smith looks at a complex history that includes aircraft manufacturing, shipbuilding and power generation.  You'll get to see the site where the last battleship built on the Thames was completed, London's other flood relief barrier, oil storage depot's, scrapyards and a fantastic stretch of the Thames which is an empty white patch on the A-Z.

1930s LONDON: The architecture of public service buildings
The Gallery, 75 Cowcross Street, EC1M 6EL
Tube: Farringdon (Circle, Hammersmith & City lines)

Thursday, 19 July, 6:30 - 8:30

Alan Powers (former Chair of the Twentieth Century Society) offers an insightful and engaging evening as he delves into London's buildings of the 1930s.

We tend to think of public sector architecture as a feature of the post-war Welfare State, but considerable resources were committed in the 1930s to all types of building, largely funded by public money for social uses. These included housing, hospitals and clinics, transport, schools, police and fire stations, libraries and town halls. 

Stylistically, these could be found at the two ends of the architectural spectrum, traditional and modern, but the great majority were in between, in a zone that has been neglected by writers and commentators on the subject. These middle styles are found in all building types, but in the architecture of public service, they had a special remit to convey civic values of dignity and efficiency, combined with durable materials.

How We Work: Behind the Scenes at Alan Baxter Ltd
75 Cowcross Street, EC1M 6EL, 35 may attend.
Tube: Farringdon (Circle, Hammersmith & City lines)

Monday, 30 July, 6:30 - 8:30

How We Work is a Members Only 'behind the scenes' series of informal evenings with a key principal from one of the capital's leading design studios.  The evening will look at the studio’s history, current and future projects.  

Alan Baxter Ltd as a design practice is unusual in that much of its work is a fusion of engineering, urbanism and conservation practiced in a joined up way from which many of the best ideas come.

They work with many of the top architects in Britain and in the last few years have been part of two Stirling Prize winning teams and one short listed.  Good design which creates long term value runs through the many different complex projects.  The knowledge from one often informs many other projects and our library and archives are very important to the practice.

Jobs range in size.  Some are very large like our scheme design for the £700m redevelopment of London Bridge Station and the reworking of the Palace of Westminster.  They then range from new residential buildings and museum extensions to tiny structural repairs in important historic buildings.  Everyone is working on many different projects and the experience and knowledge gained is significant.

Join Alan Baxter and the Society for this intimate Members Only evening as we discover the past, present and future of one of London’s most successful design studios.

LONDON ICONS: Industrial History of the Lower River Lea
Stratford Station, E15 1XJ, 25 may attend.
Tube: Stratford (Central, DLR, London Overground, Jubilee lines)

Saturday, 4 August, 11:00 - 2:00
*Members have priority booking until Monday, 2 July

London’s industrial history tends to get overlooked, but areas like the Lea Valley have a history of innovation stretching back to the earliest phases of the Industrial Revolution.

Guide Rob Smith leads this three hour walk looking at how textile, chemical, shipbuilding, ceramics and many other industries flourished in the area between Stratford and Canning Town. It includes visiting the exterior of two listed buildings - Abbey Mills Pumping Station and House Mill. 

*The walk is about three miles and ends at Canning Town Station. There is a break half way where refreshments and toilets are available, or bring packed lunch. There are a small number of steps and some uneven terrain.

1930S LONDON: Behind the Scenes: The Grenada Theatre
Gala Bingo Club, 50 Mitcham Road, SW17 9NA, 25 may attend.
Tube: Tooting Broadway (Northern line)

Wednesday, 8 August, 3:30 - 4:30
* Members have priority booking until Monday, 2 July

Easily the most spectacular cinema in Britain and certainly one of London’s hidden treasures.  Sometimes described as ‘The Cathedral of the Movies’, the exterior does not prepare you for the incredible gothic-style interior of the theatre. Prepare to be astounded when you enter!

The Granada Theatre, Tooting opened in 1931 for Sydney Bernstein’s Granada Theatres. It was his third theatre and became the flagship of the circuit. The architect, Cecil Masey designed a Moderne Italianate-styled towering entrance with four tall pillars topped by Corinthian capitals. The entire interior decoration of the theatre was designed in a gothic style by famed Russian stage set designer Theodore Komisarjevsky. As well as films, many stars from America and the UK played concerts at the Granada.  In the early 1960s famous pop stars appeared here. With falling audiences, in 1971 Granada wanted to demolish the theatre to build an office block but the Council served a local preservation notice. This led in June 1972 to a Grade II* statutory listing. The theatre closed suddenly as a cinema in November 1973 and remained unused until it reopened as a Granada Bingo Club in 1976.

Taken over in 1991 by Gala Bingo it remains in operation today. In September 2000 the listed status of the Granada Theatre was upgraded to Grade I. This is the highest listing that any building in the UK can receive and puts it on the same level as the Tower of London. It is the only 1930s cinema building to be given this status. The tour is led by Nigel Pitt, a member of the Cinema Theatre Association with an interest in 1930s cinema architecture.  

Photo © Elain Harwood

The London BREXIT debate
Conway Hall, 23 Red Lion Square, WC1R 4RL
Tube: Holborn (Central, Piccadilly lines)

Thursday, 13 September, 6:30 - 8:30
*Early Bird ticket rate till Monday, 16 July

London stood out against most of the rest of England by voting strongly for the UK to remain a member of the European Union and the city's mayor, Sadiq Khan, has repeatedly warned that the consequences of Brexit will be bad for the capital. But is he right? London's economy is famously resilient and adaptable and seems unlikely to lose to its global appeal and identity any time soon. Might leaving the EU actually enable London to become stronger and even more outward looking?

No issue is more central to the future of London and, therefore, to the nation as a whole, and the London Society is delighted to join forces with OnLondon tohost this top flight debate about what that future will hold.

Speakers already include Labour peer and former government minister Lord Adonis, who is now devoting all his time and energy to making the case that Brexit should be stopped completely. He has described London as the effective "capital of Europe" and warned that its fall from such glory could be swift and sudden.

Taking the opposite view will be senior London Conservative Daniel Moylan, an experienced former councillor and adviser to Boris Johnson during his time as London Mayor. Writing for On London, he has argued that fears for London's prosperity are much overstated and that "Brexit will make London more global" along with liberating it from an immigration system that is "functionally racist".

More speakers from both sides of the Brexit debate will be announced in due course. On London founder and editor, the award-winning former Guardian journalist Dave Hill, will chair a Brexit debate of the highest possible calibre.