The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings

Elain Harwood, 1958-2023

Elain Harwood – the heart and soul of C20 over so many decades.

Image: Daniel Hambury

A message from C20 Society Director, Catherine Croft.

We’re in shock at the sudden death of our beloved Elain Harwood (1958-2023). She was one of my best friends, and got me involved in C20 in my early 20s.

Elain was the soul of the Society for so many decades and remained at the very centre of our work; vigorously leading tours in the UK and abroad, writing and editing books, and organising innovative lectures and conferences. Her unrivalled expertise, enthusiasm and generosity touched each and every one of us. She was unfailingly generous with her knowledge and inspirational supportive to both professional scholars and amateur enthusiasts.

I have the most enormous love and admiration for everything she has done. Her life’s work was the study and celebration of our twentieth century architectural heritage, and her legacy will be incomparable.

She was also enormous fun and seemed inexhaustible – I can’t believe she is no longer with us.

Remembering Elain Harwood event

A special day of events celebrating Elain’s life and work will be hosted on Saturday 18 November, at the Purcell Room in the Southbank Centre. Tickets for this event are now completely sold out.

Elain Harwood Memorial Fund

C20 has established the new Elain Harwood Memorial Fund, to ensure the lasting impact of all she achieved, and help us continue to safeguard Britain’s remarkable modern architecture and design.

With your support and donations, we aim to secure the long-term future of our vital casework and campaigns, while offering new opportunities to young people passionate about heritage.
Click here to donate


Over the coming weeks and months, we will be collating tributes and obituaries here:

27/06/23  – The Times (Lives Remembered)
02/06/23 – The Times (Obituary)
02/06/23 – RIBA Journal
08/05/23 – The Guardian
28/04/23 – Building Design
21/04/23 – Architects Journal
21/04/23 – Building Design
21/04/23 – Historic England


If you have any photographs of Elain which you would like to share, please can email these to We will put together a slide show for the London events, and share these with Elain’s family.

A young Elain in the early 1980s