The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings

Journal 13: The Architecture of Public Service

Edited by Elain Harwood & Alan Powers

The story of the other public buildings that shaped our high streets.

Libraries, fire stations, health centres, town halls and police stations in Britain since 1914 are topics brought to light in The Architecture of Public Service – once a stable presence in the high streets of the country, but now threatened by demolition or insensitive conversion. Some were buildings of exceptional quality and all embodied high standards of materials and craftsmanship that formed the image of public service, initially Georgian in style, merging later into modernism.

The absence of information and positive critical opinion about these buildings has made it more difficult to argue for their value as part of the historic record of the period. Ranging from detailed case studies of individual projects and the charismatic county architects Roger Booth and Fred Pooley, to overviews according to building type, The Architecture of Public Service fills gaps in our understanding.


The Architecture of Public Service Alan Powers

‘A pretty toy’ or ‘purely functional’: Town, city and county halls in the interwar period Johanna Roethe

Southampton Civic Centre: Patronage and place in the interwar architecture of public service N E Shasore

Public or Private? London medical buildings of the interwar years David Brady

Fire services in Middlesex 1920-1965 Elain Harwood

Metropolitan Police stations 1920-1974 Nicholas Long

Public Libraries in the Twentieth Century Robert Drake

Roger Booth, Lancashire County Architect 1962-83 Richard Brook

Pooley’s Progress: Towards a modern vernacular in Buckinghamshire Geraint Franklin

The Body Politic and the Body Corporate: Symbolism in 1960s town halls and its precedents Susan O’Connor

The Post Office’s Concrete Transmitter Towers Elain Harwood

Saving our Civic and Public Buildings Susie Barson

265 x 195, 200 pp, colour illus, published May 2018 ISBN: 978-0-9556687-5-3

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