Hampstead Garden Suburb
Golders Green Tube Station, North End Rd, NW11 7RN, 25 may attend.
Tube: Golders Green Tube Station (Northern line)

Saturday, 9 September, 10:30 - 12:30

Blue Badge Guide, David Thompson leads this fascinating tour of one London's best loved garden suburbs.  

The creation of the Suburb marked a turning point in British town planning, and was highly influential in what was to became known as the Garden City Movement. The vision of Henrietta Barnett, the Suburb represents a utopian model community in which people of all classes might co-exist, often in economic co-reliance, in high-quality beautifully designed homes set within a verdant landscape.  

Some of the great names of early twentieth century urban design and architecture - Raymond Unwin and Edwin Lutyens to name but two - practised within the Suburb, where are to be found examples of houses and flats, which many consider, represent the very best of English domestic architecture. 

Eminent architectural historian, Sir Nikolaus Pevsner, described it as "the most nearly perfect example of that English invention and speciality, the garden suburb".


London Icons: The history and future of tall buildings in London
The Gallery, 75 Cowcross Street, EC1M 6EL
Tube: Farringdon (Circle, Hammersmith & City lines)

Thursday, 21 September, 6:30 - 8:30

London is well known for its distinctive architectural profiles and sweeping views, which were for centuries defined by the dome of St. Paul’s, the Tower of London and a wonderful peppering of church spires. This changed dramatically in the twentieth century as technology, policy and fashion led to a rise in tall buildings. As London’s skyline grew upwards, so did an awareness of protecting cherished views, and the first related height restriction policy was established in 1936.

Eighty years later, the realisation that a 42 storey tower in Stratford spoiled a special clear-sky profile view of St. Paul’s from 10 miles away has spurred debate about how to protect the skyline and to whom views of our city belong. With over 450 tall building consents in the pipeline, the London Plan under revision, innovative new tools available and discussions about other ways of achieving density, the subject of curating London’s skyline is very current.

Historic England’s London Planning Director, Emily Gee, will put this debate in historic context in a talk for The London Society.

Chancery Lane Walking Tour
London Silver Vaults, 53-64 Chancery Lane, WC2A 1QS, 25 may attend.
Tube: Chancery Lane (Central line)

Monday, 25 September, 5:30 - 7:00

Join Victor Callister, Deputy Director of Architecture & Built Environment at the Design Council, on this tour of the Chancery Lane.

Dating from the 12th century when it was formed across the Knights Templars’ land, the area has a well-preserved and easily legible historic street network, and is noted for an exceptional span of building ages and styles, resulting in a townscape of arresting contrasts.

No one aesthetic defines Chancery Lane and its environs: institutional and commercial buildings alike are expressed in divergent styles, from the post-modern to the high Gothic, from the Beaux Arts to the Dutch Art-Deco. Into this unique character a number of well-considered modern buildings have been inserted, adding further architectural interest.

The walking tour will take in everything from typically Georgian mixed-use premises as reflected in Tooks Court, to monumental 19th century listed Victorian public buildings such as the Public Records Office, The Law Society and the London Patent Office.

There is an optional tour of The London Silver Vaults, a subterranean labyrinth of vaults housing the largest collection of antique silver for sale in the world!
The tour of the silver vaults will be from 5pm-5:30 at which point the tour of Chancery Lane will commence at 5:30.

Photo: ©Hufton+Crow

London’s Great Estates: The City of London Corporation
The Gallery, 75 Cowcross Street, EC1M 6EL
Tube: Farringdon (Circle, Hammersmith & City lines)

Tuesday, 3 October, 6:30 - 8:30

With a 800 year history this estate, owned by a public authority, cannot be represented by a defined area of land. It comprises many sites and buildings and uses this resource to support and promote the business City, to provide modern, efficient and high quality local and policing services for our communities and to supply valued services for London and the nation. It is managed with the aim of being able to continue in this role in the long term.

Michael Welbank, Chief Commoner and Past Chairman of the Planning and Transportation Committee. He will discuss the history of this unique estate, the origins and complexities of its distinctive objectives and the ways in which it benefits London.

2017 Banister Fletcher Lecture
St Marylebone Parish Church, 17 Marylebone Road, NW1 5LT
Tube: Baker Street (Bakerloo, Circle, Hammersmith & City, Metropolitan lines), Regent's Park (Bakerloo line)

Tuesday, 17 October, 6:30-8:30

The London Society is pleased to announce that this year’s Annual Banister Fletcher lecture will be given by Loyd Grossman CBE, the first Chairman of The Royal Parks. He is also a patron of the Association for Heritage Interpretation and Heritage Open Days, President of the National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Societies (NADFAS) and  Chairman of the Heritage Alliance. 

The eight Royal Parks stretching from Bushy in the West to Greenwich in the East are amongst London's greatest and most distinctive assets and now under the management of an independent charity on behalf of the nation. With seventy-seven million visitors a year, the Royal Parks provide green space and tranquility for Londoners and visitors alike, a haven for wildlife ranging from hedgehogs to stag beetles and are also a venue for some of Europe's most popular entertainment events including Winter Wonderland and the British Summer Time concert series. 

The Parks face many challenges from the arrival of new plant diseases to the sheer weight of numbers due to London's growing population. In a society which fetishises selfishness and disdains the communal, the defence of the public realm is more important than ever.  Loyd will explore how we ensure the future of the greatest collection of urban parks in the world. 


Sir Banister  Fletcher was one of the founder members of The London Society.
He was a practising architect and architectural historian, who with his father wrote the first edition of 
A History of Architecture on the Comparative Methodwhich became a standard reference for architects and students. He left a bequest that has allowed The London Society hold a lecture in his name each year since his death in 1953.


London Icons: The Illuminated River Project
The Gallery, 75 Cowcross St, EC1M 6EL
Tube: Farringdon (Circle, Hammersmith & City lines)

Tuesday, 7 November, 6:30 - 8:30

Sarah Gaventa Director of the Illuminated River Foundation will talk about the concept by US artist Leo Villareal (with British architects and London Society Supporters Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands) to create a subtle kinetic LED light sculpture that will unify and light up the bridges of central London from Albert to Tower. Once complete, this will be the longest public art commission in the world at 2.5 miles in length.

The artwork will link the bridges along the Thames to one another visually and enhance and respect the architectural character and history of each structure. . It aims to help improve the quality of access to the bridges and help knit them into the wider public realm. This will be a completely free and publically accessible art project which forms part of the Mayor’s planned cultural strategy for the Thames and a renewed cultural and public realm focus on the river.

The project is an opportunity to contribute to a more sustainable environment for the Thames and its wildlife. By removing excessive light spill on the bridges and direct light into the river, it will help improve the natural environment for the flora and fauna of the Thames. The Illuminated River will also encourage debate about the role of light and light quality in London.