Where applicable entrance fees to sites will be payable by participants on the day
Most of London’s housing stock now dates from no earlier than the beginning of the eighteenth century. The forms that its dwellings have taken since the time of the Great Fire of London have changed dramatically in response to changing needs, an expanding population, forces of development and legislation.
“Thanks for the new brochure for next season’s programme. It is most interesting and I will certainly be attending at least three courses; it is difficult to decide which not to attend! You have got very good lecturers who have vastly increased my knowledge”.
29 April 2025 – London Houses: An Overview
To open the series, this lecture will provide an overview of the changing nature of the London house from medieval to the present day, setting the scene for the subsequent walks and talks.
06 May 2025 – The London Estate
Until the 20th century the most important influence on the form and type of London dwelling was land ownership. This lecture will describe the impact of the major London landlords such as the Bedford, Grosvenor and Howard de Walden estates in forging the character of Bloomsbury, Belgravia, Mayfair and Marylebone.
13 May 2025 – Bloomsbury and Fitzrovia
Bedford Square remains the least altered of all the London squares, which are such a distinct contribution of London’s great estates in the 18th and 19th century. The walk will look at the evolution of the square’s design, the economics of Georgian development and continue on to look at the contribution of Robert Adam in Fitzroy Square and Portland Place.
20 May 2025 – The London Country Villa
From at least the 17th century, London merchants led the way in developing the concept of a small house or ‘villa’ in the country within easy reach of the City. As the capital grew in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries many of these houses were absorbed into the suburbs and faced a chequered fate.
27 May 2025 – BOSTON MANOR HOUSE and PITZHANGER MANOR
We will look at two fine examples of the country villa in Brentford and Ealing, both recently refurbished. Boston Manor was built in the 1620s and has some of the finest plasterwork in the London area. It remained in the same family until the 1920s. We will also visit Pitzhanger Manor, designed as his country retreat by Sir John Soane.
03 June 2025 – Poverty, Philanthropy and Housing Reform
By the beginning of the Victorian Period, the combined pressure of an expanding population and new industries created overcrowding and suffering in the eastern and southern fringes of the capital. This lecture will survey the effort made to ameliorate these problems, from the first private attempts to provide cheap model housing in slum areas to the success of the London County Council’s first estates in Bethnal Green and Millbank.
10 June 2025 – Shoreditch and Bethnal Green
In the 1840s Charles Dickens encouraged Baroness Burdett-Coutts to create schemes of new housing at Columbia Market and other semi philanthropic building companies followed her lead. But it was only with the advent of the London County Council that the major task of clearance was grasped and the Boundary Estate created, demonstrating in its planning and design the influence of the Arts and Crafts movement.
17 June 2025 – The Suburbs: Country Retreat to Commuterland
London’s relentless expansion in every direction over the course of the 19th and 20th centuries and the transformation created by the railways, trams, buses and Underground, quickly changed where and how Londoners live. We will map the phases of this change, the forces influencing it and the architectural results.
24 June 2025 – Bedford Park (Turnham Green)
This was London’s first carefully planned and purpose-built middle-class suburb, instigated by Jonathan Carr, a City cloth merchant, and with its architectural character defined in the first phases by Richard Norman Shaw, with church, village stores, and tree-lined streets of houses of various sizes in styles evoking the homeliness of the late 17th and early 18th centuries.
01 JULY London Remade: Golden Lane and Barbican
The catastrophic destruction of the Blitz presented the opportunity for rebuilding in a style and manner altogether different from both the low rise cottage estates and plain blocks of flats of the interwar period. Golden Lane was the City of London’s first experiment in the field of public housing after the War and provided the inspiration for the far more ambitious Barbican Estate, finally opened in 1982.
NOTE: Where applicable entrance fees to sites will be payable by participants on the day