Long Live South Bank




To sign the petition go here: http://www.llsb.com

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. www.merzbarn.net )

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: http://www.heritageopendays.org.uk/directory/the-merz-barn-open-days#sthash.bgkZJYNC.dpuf

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 over.www.ecospheric.co.uk

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: http://www.heritageopendays.org.uk/directory/cheshire-west-chester-hq#sthash.7o8b9YE1.dpuf

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

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by | August 30, 2013 · 9:05 am

Archienthusiasm Days Out

A few recommendations for summery C20 days out…

1. Sound Mirrors, Dungeness (next and final open day for the year Saturday 11th August) More info here: http://www.rmcp.co.uk/NoticeBoard.php

Ruth and I went to look at these in July and were suitably impressed. So much so we want to go back to Dungeness…maybe a tour of the power station next time.

(Second photo courtesy of honorary archienthusiast Katherine Brickell)



2. De la Warr Pavilion, Bexhill on Sea

A seaside modernist marvel! Excellent opportunities for great coffee on the sun terrace too.


3. Silver End, Essex

The Home of Crittall Windows and their Art Deco worker housing. Highly recommended to get a glimpse of how the owners are living in/with their architectural heritage houses. There were a lot of flat roof repairs going on when I visited, though many of the houses are clearly very well loved. Even if that does mean UPVC.


4. Plotlands Museum, Laindon, Essex

There was an annual reunion of ex-plotlanders going on when I visited the other week, they invited us in for a look around even though the museum was closed. Lovely. I must dig out Colin Ward’s Arcadia for All again…


If you have any suggestions for C20 jaunts let us know!

– Hannah

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Report: Cultures of Architectural Enthusiasm Day 1

Friday 28th June 2013 10.00am – 5.30pm

University College, London

What is architectural enthusiasm, what type of people become architectural enthusiasts, how can enthusiasm be shared and used, and why does enthusiasm matter? These were some of the questions explored at the ‘Cultures of Architectural Enthusiasm’ conference held at University College London to mark the culmination of a two-year project looking at how people engage with and value the twentieth century built environment. Researchers Dr Hannah Neate, Dr Ruth Craggs and Dr Hilary Geoghegan have been out and about interacting with architectural enthusiasts around the country; fieldwork has included meeting societies set up to celebrate Britain’s twentieth century built heritage, going behind the scenes of organised tours of the modern landscape and finding out what motivates those diverse people and organisations who are standing up for an often-criticised architectural period. “Enthusiasm can really contribute to the re-evaluation of buildings which might otherwise be overlooked,” explained Hannah Neate. “But there are questions around who has the loudest voice? Who is being listened to? Whose voices aren’t being heard and what’s being excluded from narratives and discourses?”


Over the course of the day’s presentations and discussions, it became clear that there is not one single pattern from which architectural enthusiasts are cut, and the conference heard from people who engage with architecture from all viewpoints, from the amateur to the professional. Some of the speakers organise and participate in artistic and educational activities aimed at challenging public perceptions of the built environment, but have little formal voice, whereas others represent statutory bodies with the resources to actively influence the listing and conservation of buildings. Getting involved in architectural enthusiasm can involve volunteering or becoming a card-carrying member of a national organisation as Ed DiestelKamp and Catherine Croft, from the National Trust and Twentieth Century Society respectively explained, or getting together over a cup of tea to learn informally and discover a city together, as demonstrated by Manchester Modernist Society founder Jack Hale. Enthusiasm can stem from simply using buildings for their intended purpose, such as waiting for a bus, as shown by members of the public campaign to save Brutalist landmark Preston Bus Station. At the other extreme are the peripatetic ‘anoraks’ identified by Sheffield Hallam University’s Luke Bennett, who dedicate weekends to travelling around near-identical concrete nuclear bunkers and try and outdo each other by sharing their experiences on highly specialist online forums.

But what is enthusiasm? As Professor John Gold from Oxford Brookes University pointed out, it seems odd to project emotional responses on to an architectural period associated with rational, scientific planning and principles. He explained: “Enthusiasm and modernism don’t usually go together. It is usually a much more cold, rational debate.” Gold sees enthusiasm as having a ‘bipolar’ nature, and said it needs to be seen in terms of “lightness and dark”. With twentieth century architecture, this means keeping in mind what modernist architects and planners were opposed to and what their buildings were designed to replace. However, the modern movement has left a conflicted legacy, and enthusiasm for their buildings has markedly dissipated over time. Buildings which attracted world attention less than 50 years ago have gone the way of the slums before them, and are now seen as problems to be hidden.

For this reason, English Heritage sometimes has to make “brave decisions” when recommending twentieth century buildings for listing, said Head of Designation Emily Gee. She explained that the listing of familiar, modest and accessible sites, such as the iconic Abbey Road crossing, RAF bases, phone boxes and public art, “wins hearts and minds” in the way that important examples of public housing and commercial office buildings do not.

Organisations such as London-based educational charity Our Hut use their enthusiasm for twentieth century architecture to help communities feel happier about the modernist structures they live with everyday, such as Stockwell Bus Garage. Events for schools and other groups include tours, oral history projects and creative activities such as designing buildings. This creative engagement with architecture is often an important part of efforts to re-evaluate the twentieth century environment, as exemplified by the current campaign to save Preston Bus Station from demolition by the city council, who plan to regenerate the surrounding area. Mark Toogood from the University of Central Lancashire explained that this does not have one campaign or co-ordinator at its centre but is shaped through a series of creative events and re-representations which confront negative perceptions of the building.

However architectural heritage does not just reward enthusiasts, or help to create a sense of local pride; it is also beneficial to the British economy as a whole. Heritage is an “absolutely essential” part of our culture, argues Kate Pugh from the Heritage Alliance, an umbrella body for heritage organisations, and it “means business for the UK in so many ways”. Heritage is a mass movement in the UK, with heritage and architecture bodies boasting ten times as many members as political parties. Pugh stresses the need to transform this enthusiasm into an institutional force by making the government realise the value of heritage to the economy and support it through legislation and policy. She explains why: “Heritage should enrich and inspire all who come into contact with it. People need to become visitors, participants and activists.”

Architectural enthusiasm can be emotional and rational, celebratory and challenging. It can be fun but it can also contribute to serious research and put pressure on those with the power to conserve twentieth century architecture. It can be informal and social, but it can also be competitive. It can be a minority cause or enjoy popular support. The ‘Cultures of Architectural Enthusiasm’ project has brought together and sparked discussion between the many different users and fans of our modern built heritage, showing that it is far more than a niche interest. However, it has just been a starting point for wider discussions and there is potential to explore whether this enthusiasm can be consolidated and channelled into constructive and lasting action.


This report has been prepared by Natalie Bradbury, a guest blogger and PhD student at the University of Central Lancashire.  See Natalie’s blog for more on her project which is entitled ‘Pictures for Schools: Art, Education and Reconstruction in Post-war Britain‘.  

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Thank You

Thank you to everyone who came along to our Cultures of Architectural Enthusiasm events.  We will be posting write-ups soon.  In the meantime here are some favourite photos from Saturday’s bus tour!






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Final Preparation for Event

BNsYzdSCIAExuIV.jpg largeThe postcards (which we will be unleashing on our bus tour) have arrived, the programmes have been printed, and name badges lined up.  All set for our day of speakers on Friday and the Routemaster on Saturday.  Architectural enthusiasm!

More here: http://architecturalenthusiasm.eventbrite.co.uk/#

 – Hannah


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