The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings

Catch-up events

If you missed any of our virtual events, you can buy a ticket to watch the recording of it below. All ticket proceeds go towards our campaigning to protect outstanding C20 buildings and design.

 

Spring Lecture Series Swansea

The destruction of Swansea in the Second World War, after the three nights blitz of February 1941, left a devastated town centre that had lost its heart, soul and architectural character. Following the war a redevelopment plan was undertaken based on pre-war modernist proposals.

Catrin James will look at the post war buildings that brought back civic pride to the city centre. She will also discuss the concrete sculptural mural of 1968 on the façade of the Central Clinic in Orchard Street which is currently at risk. The mural was the work of the sculptor Harry Everington when he was Head of Fine Art at Swansea College of Art in the 1960s.

Catrin James is an archivist and artist who works on the post war architecture of South Wales. She created work for the Cultural Olympiad for Wales in 2012.

Spring Lecture Series Milton Keynes

In the new town of Milton Keynes, designated in 1967, flat roofs and clean lines characterized several early housing estates, from Jeremy Dixon and Edward Jones’s Netherfield to Norman Foster’s Beanhill. However, by the early 1980s the Milton Keynes Development Corporation was instructing architects to follow a ‘traditional house formula’ instead, and this resulted in such estates as Great Linford and Neath Hill. How did this change come about?

Guy Ortolano is Professor of History at New York University. He is the author of Thatcher’s Progress: From Social Democracy to Market Liberalism through an English New Town (Cambridge, 2019). He lives in a thirty-storey concrete tower block in New York City.

Spring lecture Series Dublin

Dublin is famous as a city of extremes and contrasts. At the dawn of the twentieth century, it was a city of opulent buildings and some of the worst slums in Europe. On independence the nascent state was faced with the problem of how to deal with these legacies and the challenges of reconstruction after the damage of the 1916 Rising. Later in the century a new wave of spatial modernisation led to the boom of apartments and offices of the Celtic Tiger, and the urban crisis of the ghost estates. Erika Hanna will chart the shifts in the city’s fortunes, and explore some of the city’s more famous and lesser-known buildings.

Dr Erika Hanna is Senior Lecturer in Modern History at the University of Bristol and author of Modern Dublin: Urban Change and the Irish Past (Oxford University Press, 2013).

Spring Lecture series Nottingham

Nottingham is a city caught between the Midlands and the north, and is often overlooked. Yet in the twentieth century it had one of the few traditional economies, based on textiles, that boomed, together with new activities such as bicycles (which led to light engineering), Boots pharmaceuticals and more. The city blossomed with new housing, factories and public buildings, a momentum that was sustained through the post-war years.

Elain Harwood’s talk will range from local architects T. Cecil Howitt and cinema specialist Reginald Cooper, to national heroes such as E. Owen Williams at Boots and Peter Moro at the Nottingham Playhouse.

Elain Harwood is a native of Nottinghamshire and author of the Pevsner City Guide to Nottingham (Yale University Press, 2008).

Spring Lecture Series Liverpool

Liverpool reached its commercial zenith in the early 20th century, suffered widespread destruction during the Second World War, became a focus of popular culture in the 1960s and experienced catastrophic decline in the ensuing decades. By the 1990s it was reinventing itself as a tourist destination.

Joseph Sharples will explore how the city’s history is reflected in its buildings. American-inspired Classicism dominated the interwar years, revealing the influence of Charles Reilly, head of the Liverpool School of Architecture. Comprehensive redevelopment in the 1960s and 1970s destroyed much, but produced significant monuments such as Tripe & Wakeham’s, Royal Insurance headquarters, and Frederick Gibberd’s, Catholic Cathedral. After a long fallow period, noted architects are once again reshaping the city.

Spring Lecture Series: Oxford

In 1977 Alan Bullock observed ‘It comes as a surprise to most people to be told that if they want to see a representative collection of the best British architecture of the last twenty years they cannot do better than visit Oxford.’ The big question, of course, is why? What happened to Oxford to turn it from what Howard Colvin once termed ‘a hotbed of cold feet’ into a place that commissioned much more modern architecture?

William Whyte will look at building projects, designs, town planning schemes and a motorway to address those questions. The answer will tell us much about modern Oxford and also give insight into the debates about building that helped reshape modern Britain.

Spring Lecture Series: Edinburgh

This talk will highlight Edinburgh’s twentieth century architectural heritage, ranging from consideration of works by notable designers such as Basil Spence and Robert Matthew to less well-known projects in the city centre and the suburbs. We will see how a constellation of designers and others created modern environments in this historic city. Among the projects to be discussed will be the architecture of the city’s universities, its modern churches, its inter-war and post-war council housing, and the pioneering work of new housing associations in the 1960s and 1970s. The talk will also highlight some more recent interventions in the city centre during the 1980s and 1990s, culminating, briefly, with the new Scottish Parliament

The Festival of Britain 1951, a tonic to the Nation

Presented by Geoffrey Hollis

This is intended as an introduction to the Festival of Britain, in its 70th Anniversary year

Members’ Travels Slide Evening and Harry Page Photography Award

Presented by Carolyn Parmeter

This slideshow gave C20 members a chance to show photographs of their own travels at home and abroad.

Inter-War London in Lockdown 1 – The 1920s

Presented by John East

As C20’s ‘unofficial photographer’ John East would usually kick off the New Year with a review of C20 events from the previous year.  But this year would have made for a very short presentation.  Instead, John got on his bike during the spring and autumn lockdowns and revisited buildings which he first got to know with the Society (and its forerunner, the Thirties Society) many years ago and took spectacular images of London’s inter-war architecture.

Visual Acoustics: Julius Shulman’s iconic photography of Californian Modernism

Presented by Will Paice, Valeria Carullo and others

An evening with author Will Paice, filmmaker Eric Bricker, photography curator Valeria Carullo, Prof Neil Jackson and C20 Society Director Catherine Croft in conversation about the documentary film Visual Acoustics: The Modernism of Julius Shulman.

Catch up: Italian War Memorials Revisited

Presented by Hannah Malone

Revisiting the C20 trip led by Gavin Stamp in 2012, this talk will explore the cemeteries that were built by Italy’s Fascist regime in the 1920-30s for soldiers who had fallen in the First World War.

Inter-War London in Lockdown 2 – The 1930s

Presented by John East

As C20’s ‘unofficial photographer’ John East would usually kick off the New Year with a review of C20 events from the previous year.  But this year would have made for a very short presentation.  Instead, John got on his bike during the spring and autumn lockdowns and revisited buildings which he first got to know with the Society (and its forerunner, the Thirties Society) many years ago and took spectacular images of London’s inter-war architecture.

Cressingham Gardens: An English Garden Estate

Presented by Will Jennings, Catherine Croft, Coco Whittaker and Tom Keene

Will Jennings’ beautiful film An English Garden (2020). is a poetic study of Cressingham Gardens, the 1970s Ted Hollamby designed housing estate in Lambeth, which has been threatened with demolition.

Abbatt and the world of modern toys

Presented by Alan Powers, introduced by Margherita Manca

Alan will discuss his recent book Abbatt Toys: Modern Toys for Modern Children, exploring the business founded by Paul & Marjorie Abbatt in London in 1932, after touring Europe and admiring early years education in Vienna, Berlin and elsewhere. Ernö Goldfinger designed their shop and some of their products as part of a clear-sighted vision for ‘the right toy for the right age’, and an unsentimental approach to childhood.

 

Autumn Lecture Series: Current architectural trends in Church buildings

Presented by Kate Jordan

Dr Kate Jordan, University of Westminster, will speak on current trends in church building and discuss how they fit in with wider architectural concerns.

Autumn Lecture Series: The Islamic heritage

Presented by Shahed Saleem

Dr Shahed Saleem is the author of  The British Mosque: an architectural and social history  (Historic England, 2018).

Autumn Lecture Series: Roman Catholic Buildings

Presented by Robert Proctor

An overview of Roman Catholic buildings with Dr Robert Proctor, University of Bath, author of Building the Modern Church: Roman Catholic Architecture in Britain (Ashgate, 2014).

Autumn Lecture Series: The 20th Century Synagogue

Presented by Sharman Kadish

Dr Sharman Kadish is the author of The Synagogues of Britain and Ireland: An Architectural and Social History (Yale 2011).

Autumn Lecture Series: ‘Too modern, too plain or too foreign’, Church of England buildings

Presented by Clare Price

C20’s Head of Casework and a PhD candidate at the University of Oxford discusses the problems that architects encountered in designing Church of England buildings in the inter-war period.

Autumn Lecture Series: Non-conformist worship

Presented by Elain Harwood

Elain Harwood, author of Space, Hope and Brutalism: English Architecture 1945-1975 (Yale University Press) talks about non-conformist worship in the twentieth century.