Modern Futures


There has been a groundswell of interest in modernist architecture in recent years, particularly buildings from the second half of the twentieth century. Individuals and groups are engaging with modernist environments in the form of popular histories, documentaries and community projects, and digital and social media. Alongside this growing popularity however, many of these buildings are under threat from demolition and regeneration.

Modern Futures explores these trends, their connections, and how more popular and creative engagements might be used to inform the uncertain future of modernist architecture.


Hannah Neate and Ruth Craggs (editors) “Modern Futures”
Christine Wall, “You’d concrete and say a wee prayer”—the South Bank Arts Complex and new notions of value in modern architecture
Esther Johnson, Mid-Century Modern Living
Richard Brook, Mainstream Modern
Matthew Whitfield, The Suburbs Project
Matthew Steele & Angela Connelly, Surveying Greater Manchester’s Sacred Suburbs
Andy Lock, with Iain Anderson, The use of photography in recording the legacy of the modern movement in Britain’s post-war landscapes
Eddy Rhead, From Here to Modernity—Manchester Modernist Society
Sally Stone, Gate 81
Verity-Jane Keefe, The Mobile Museum
Ian Waites, ‘Spontaneous Estate Evolution’—Research/Practice interventions on a 1960s council estate
Michael Gallagher, Architecture about us
Natalie Bradbury, Bubbling away in the background—William Mitchell’s Harlow fountains
John Pendlebury & Aidan While, Post-war social housing: conservation and regeneration


Available to purchase from Uniformbooks

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New journal article published

The site has been dormant for a while, mainly because we’ve been carrying on this work in the form of the Modern Futures network.  However we are pleased to announce that a paper drawing on the research we conducted for the ‘Cultures of Architectural Enthusiasm’ project has just been published in the journal Geoforum.  Title and abstract below.

Managing Enthusiasm: Between ‘Extremist’ Volunteers and ‘Rational’ Professional Practices in Architectural Conservation


Recent geographical research has considered enthusiasm to be a shared passion and a motivator to action. Through the example of architectural conservation in Britain, and the activities of the Twentieth Century Society in particular, this paper examines the tensions between enthusiasm as a productive and positive affiliation, and enthusiasm as a negative, prohibitive, and at times extremist position. The paper makes three key contributions: firstly, it demonstrates how methodologically it is possible to trace enthusiasm, using ethnographic method to reveal not only what groups say they do, but also what they actually do.  Secondly, it argues that enthusiasm is a productive but ambivalent term that creates tensions within organisations and societies where professional and volunteer roles are present. Thirdly, we show that even though enthusiasm has productive capacities, it also requires careful management, and on occasion denial.  The tensions between enthusiasm and professionalism that we trace are relevant beyond the realm of architectural conservation and resonate with other groups comprised of volunteers and professionals.

You can access a free downloadable version of the full article here (this link will work until 14th July 2016).

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Mid-Century Modern Living

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Our architectural enthusiasms…

In our project we’ve been thinking about the different ways that individuals and groups of people celebrate, campaign for and are generally enthusiastic about twentieth century architecture. Sometimes we’ve been asked if we are enthusiasts. I think I may have given myself away in the latest edition of The Modernist magazine. This is a publication I have been a fan of since its first issue.

In issue no.9 you’ll find a piece by me about Bayko – a building toy. So, yes. I am an enthusiast of twentieth century architecture in many guises. But one of my obsessions over the past year or so has been Bayko, or what I like to think of as suburbia in a box.




For copies of The Modernist

– Hannah

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The Big Bus Station Parade

Bus Station Parade

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by | October 14, 2013 · 4:34 pm

Preston Bus Station Grade II Listed


English Heritage announced today the decision to designate Preston Bus Station Grade II. Full details of the decision to list will be available tomorrow (Tuesday 28th September) from the English Heritage website.

Here are some news reports from today:


Mail Online ‘concrete monstrosity'(!) –

Lancashire Evening Post – worth reading the comments –

Dezeen – ‘making it harder – but not impossible – for the bus station to be knocked down’ –

Channel 4 News – ‘iconic bus station lives to fight another day’ –

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Call for Papers – Geographies of Modernism: architecture, heritage and landscape

Association of American Geographers’ Annual Meeting Tampa, Florida, April 8 to April 12, 2014

Recent years have witnessed an increasing popular and academic interest in architectural modernism, specifically its material cultures, associated political projects, and broader landscapes. This session aims to bring an international perspective to these debates by inviting contributors to examine the histories, politics and contemporary evaluations of the modernist project in diverse places and settings (architecture, design, interiors, town planning, institutions). Papers might consider modernism and its legacies in, for example, post-socialist spaces, The Global North and South, and wide-ranging post-colonial and post-imperial contexts.

Following on from our own work on modernist architecture in the UK, we are interested in drawing together papers that explore links to broader national and international ideologies of reconstruction, development, modernisation, and welfare, and the status of these modernisms today: how are they reappropriated, contested and valued (or not) in the twenty-first century as heritage, real estate, memorial, aesthetic, commodity?  How has modernist architecture, design and material culture been subject to institutionalization as heritage, through national and international legislation and popular campaigning, to disinvestment and privatization through shifting political and economic contexts, and to commodification through popular cultural forms?

Themes and topics to explore include:

  • Architectural styles and materials
  • Modernism as heritage
  • Preservation, conservation and legislation
  • Reuse and re-appropriation
  • Demolition
  • Domestic spaces
  • Problematic legacies
  • Campaigning and activism
  • Commodification
  • Popular cultures of modernism
  • Public and private space

Please submit an abstract of no more than 300 words to Hannah Neate ( by Friday 11th October 2013.

Session organisers: H Neate, UCLan; H Geoghegan, Reading; R Craggs, Kings

For general information about the conference go to:

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Long Live South Bank




To sign the petition go here:

For some background see:

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Heritage Open Days September 12th-15th

Thanks to Aidan Turner-Bishop, Co-ordinator of the NW Branch of the Twentieth Century Society who gets counted as a guest blogger as he very usefully compiled the following list of places of interest to C20 enthusiasts.  More can be found on the Heritage Open Days website.  For those of you based in London I recommend looking at the Love London Council Housing blog for some other great suggestions.  Also make sure you look up the upcoming events organised by the C20 North West Group.


Kurt Schwitters’ Merz Barn site, Elterwater, Ambleside, Cumbria (open all four days from 10am to 5pm. )

The old barn where the German artist Kurt Schwitters worked on his final great artwork in 1947, called The Merz Barn. The work itself is now in the Hatton Gallery in Newcastle, to which it was removed in 1965 to preserve it, but the barn is set in a very beautiful part of the Langdale Valley, and has become a place of pilgrimage for all those interested in Dada and Modernist art. Everyone is made welcome, and if they wish given a short verbal introduction to the life and work of Kurt Schwitters, and the background to refugee artists from Germany during WW2. There are also display boards, and an accompanying exhibition in the near-by Shippon Gallery. The main charm of the site is its seclusion, and many people enjoy it just for this.

  • Thursday 12th September: 1000-1700
  • Friday 13th September: 1000-1700
  • Saturday 14th September: 1000-1700
  • Sunday 15th September: 1000-1700

– See more at:

The Waste [processing] Experience, Bolton (Friday Sept 13): max 17 people per tour.

Chorlton-cum-Hardy EcoShowhome, 3 The Thorns, Chorltonville (open Fri-Sun 11am – 5pm) . See how an arts & crafts house has been thoroughly eco-ed

St Nicholas church, Kingsway, Burnage (N F Cachemaille Day, 1932) with 2002 intervention by Tony Grimshaw) This Grade II* listed building was the first church designed by architect, Nugent Francis Cachemaille Day, and was opened in 1932. Between 2000 and 2002 a major refurbishment and remodelling project changed the internal layout whilst retaining the exterior as originally designed. Video presentation of St Nicholas Church past, present and future plus display of photographs.Visitors’ guides, cards, books for sale and Fair Trade stand. (Open Sat-Sun 1030-1600 /4pm)

All Saints’ and Martyrs’ church, Langley, MiddletonConsecrated in 1964, All Saints & Martyrs is home to the ‘Langley Cross’. This unique sculpture is the work of the internationally renowned artist, Geoffrey Clarke RA. Cast in aluminium, this rugged structure stands 37 feet tall and 20 feet wide. Clarke’s cross portrays the brutality of the ancient Roman practice of crucifixion, yet at the same time seems to interpret this in a more modern context, as the shape of a rifle can clearly be seen within the design. There are many other levels of Christian symbolism which individuals have perceived when contemplating on the cross. The organ is a traditional pipe instrument, built in 1964 in the most modern fashion of the time by the well-reputed firm of Rushworth & Dreaper of Liverpool. (Open Fri-Sat 12-4/Sun 2-4)

Regal Moon pub and former 1930s cinema, The Butts, Rochdale (Prebooked tours 12-14 Sept: 11.30 and 1400)

St John the Baptist RC Church, Dowling St, Rochdale (next to Rochdale Station Metrolink stop) The sanctuary mosaic cost four thousand pounds and was designed by Eric Newton, son of Lehmann Oppenheimer and Edith Newton, and was completed on 31st October 1933. The central figure being that of Christ the King, a feast day established by Pope Pius XI, his Papal Coat of Arms and the Coat of Arms of Bishop Henshaw are on the side walls. We have extensive informtaion leading back to when the Church was first built with photos of previous clergy, parishioners and much more.

  • Thursday 12th September: 1000-1600; Service 1200
  • Friday 13th September: 1000-1600; Service 1200
  • Saturday 14th September: 1000-1830; Service 1200; Evening vigil 1730
  • Sunday 15th September: 0900-1500; Service 0930

Tin Tabernacle, Eleventh Street, Trafford Park  St Antony of Padua Church was built to serve the residents of the newly built Westinghouse Village in 1904. The church has a corrugated iron structure which it maintains although it was reclad in 1994. It is one of the last remaining ‘Tin Tabernacle’ Churches in the UK. The church closed in 2009 however much interest remains despite there being no residential area nearby. As part of Heritage Open Days, we will be opening the doors of our church and inviting people to come and view our hidden gem. (Open Fri 13, 10-4/ Sun 15, 10-2pm)

Cunard Building, Pier Head, Liverpool . The Cunard Building was the last of the iconic ‘Three Graces’ to be developed with construction of the building commencing in 1914 and completed by 1917. The Cunard Steamship Company commissioned Willink & Thicknesse to design a new central headquarters. The architects used marble imported from Attica, Carrara and Arni Alto in Italy to create Italianate and Greek Revival detail, in the style of an Italian palazzo.  (Bookable tour  on Saturday 14th September at 10am).

Ropewalks regeneration, Campbell Square, Liverpool. Prebooked guided walks:

  • Thursday 12th September: Tours 1030 & 1430
  • Friday 13th September: Tours 1030 & 1430
  • Saturday 14th September: Tour 1030

Royal Court theatre, Roe Street, Liverpool. 1930s art deco. Bookable behind-the -scenes tours at

  • Thursday 12th September: Tour and exhibition: 1100 & 1400
  • Friday 13th September: Tour and exhibition: 1100 & 1400

St Christopher’s church, Lorenzo Drive, Norris Green. 1930s  art deco by Bernard Miller:  Grade II listed church  will be open for visitors to look around the ‘Children’s Church’ and view the art deco interior, including sculptures of children.  The funds were raised mainly by local children (allegedly).

  • Saturday 14th September: 1100-1500
  • Sunday 15th September: 1000-1600

Wirral Town Hall, Brighton Street, Wallasey  Bookable tours Friday 13,  2-4pm

Blackpool Illuminations depot, Amy Johnson Way, Blackpool. Thursday 12th September: Tours 1800-1930 & 2000-2130

Funny Girls, 5 Dickson Road, Blackpool (former Odeon cinema, now a burlesque theatre). Bookable tours at

  • Thursday 12th September: Tour 1100-1200
  • Friday 13th September: Tour 1100-1200

Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes, Whinney Heys Rd, Blackpool (F X Velarde, 1955-7) Sunday Sept 15, 11 -4pm

Ruskin Library, Lancaster University  Thurs-Fri 12-13, 10-4pm

Morecambe Town Hall, 1932 grade 2 listed. I hear that it contains much of its original furniture. Guided tour, Sunday Sept 15 at 2.30pm

Padiham Town Hall (Bradshaw Gass & Hope’s attempt at Scandinavian moderne, 1938).

  • Friday 13th September: 1030 & 1430
  • Saturday 14th September: 1030

Lancashire County Council’s County Hall, Fishergate Hill, Preston. 1930s municipal moderne.  Saturday 14th September: 1000-1300 Tours 1000, 1030, 1100, 1130, 1200 & 1230


Cheshire West & Chester Council HQ, Chester. Cylindrical black glass Lubyanka-style. One bookable 20 minute tour on Thursday Sept 12. Maximum of 20 only.

Booking Contact: Elaine Pierce Jones
Call: 01244 972210
Booking opens: 13 August 2013 10:30
Booking closes: 10 September 2013 16:30 – See more at:

Chester Odeon cinema (Robert Bullivant, 1936 )  being converted from former cinema to theatre, arts centre & library. Tours at

  • Friday 13th September: Tours 1000 & 1400 & 1700
  • Saturday 14th September: Tours 1000 & 1200 & 1400
  • Sunday 15th September: Tours 1000 & 1200 & 1400

Hooton Park hangars Ellesmere Port.  Three 1917 Belfast truss hangars used as transport museum etc. Charmingly scruffy and grungy.

  • Saturday 14th September: 1000-1600 Tours 1100 & 1400
  • Sunday 15th September: 1000-1600 Tours 1100 & 1400

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Architectural enthusiasm: visiting buildings with The Twentieth Century Society

EPD paper

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by | August 30, 2013 · 9:05 am