The UK has woken up to its architectural heritage, its glorious collection of old buildings of different ages. From square Saxon churches or soaring, fan-vaulted Gothic masterpieces to old beamed and pargeted Elizabethan houses and grand landscaped Palladian mansions; from ancient bridges to the most modest of cottages, we are starting to cherish them all — for the skills that made them in such numbers have long since vanished.
The enormous viewing figures of TV programmes such as Restoration and David Dimbleby’s The Buildings of Britain prove that, alongside our keen enjoyment of modern architecture designed by international luminaries such as the UK’s Richard Rogers, Norman Foster or Zaha Hadid, there is also a growing interest in preserving and restoring our old buildings.
Balancing a desire for progress and need for new homes with a love of the past is an important aspect of the work of the Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment.
Homes & Property has teamed up with the Prince’s Foundation to offer a series of nine illustrated talks at two very special venues in London: the Prince’s Foundation in Shoreditch, EC2, and the Honourable Artillery Company in EC1. Starting on Wednesday 2 April, they will run weekly until 28 May.
The line-up of speakers includes award-winning traditional architect Robert Adam; former RIBA president George Ferguson; English Heritage’s Roger Bowdler; country homes expert Jeremy Musson; Steven Parissien from the Prince’s Foundation and author of A History of Domestic Interiors, which Laurence King is publishing in the autumn; Philip Venning OBE from SPAB; and Tony Juniper, director of Friends of the Earth.
At each of these events, at 5.30pm, enjoy a glass of wine before an illustrated talk from the foremost experts in the country. Each talk costs £10 and booking details are below.
Speaker: Robert Adam
2 April at The Prince’s Foundation
Architect Robert Adam explains how tradition shapes our towns, cities and society and gives us our identity. He explains how understanding tradition helps us to move into the future.
Something Worth Keeping? Heritage in the 21st Century
Speaker: Roger Bowdler
9 April at The Prince’s Foundation
English Heritage listings inspector and historian Roger Bowdler explains the way in which listings decisions get made and how protecting the past is becoming increasingly important.
Cherishing the Old
Speaker: Jeremy Musson
16 April at The Prince’s Foundation
English country houses specialist Jeremy Musson argues passionately for “the philosophy of conservation by affection” rather than getting bogged down in strict rules and regulations.
A Sustainable Food Strategy for Britain
Speaker: Patrick Holden
23 April at The Honourable Artillery Company
Director of the Soil Association Patrick Holden explains how thinking in the long term about crops, land use and sustainability is the only way we are going to be able to protect the planet and feed a growing population.
New Bats in Old Belfries — the Genius of Place
Speaker: Tim Mowl
30 April at The Prince’s Foundation
Bristol professor of architecture and historical author Tim Mowl looks at the continuing demolition of wonderful old buildings, but reports on a fascinating groundswell of eccentric and inspired places being renewed, reinvented and saved.
The Frailty of Fashion
Speaker: George Ferguson
7 May at The Honourable Artillery Company
Former RIBA president George Ferguson argues that neither slavishly following architectural fashion nor replicating the past are the ways forward; instead we should define what makes a place work and have the confidence to build and enjoy it.
New Ideas for Old Places — Interpreting the Past for the Future
Speaker: Steven Parissien
14 May at The Prince’s Foundation
Architectural and cultural historian Steven Parissien unravels some of the myths of “authenticity” and explains how we can restore and redecorate our homes in a way that respects the past.
The Short Term, the Long Term — and the Very Long Term
Speaker: Philip Venning
21 May at The Honourable Artillery Company
Secretary of SPAB Philip Venning takes an in-depth look at Altybela, the magical medieval manor house lovingly repaired by the Spitalfields Trust, to show how a derelict building can, with love and attention, become a fabulous home that will survive for centuries.
Speaker: Tony Juniper
28 May at The Honourable Artillery Company
Director of Friends of the Earth Tony Juniper looks at balancing the rush for sustainable communities with preserving the historic environment.
How to book
Email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 020 7613 8500. Venues: The Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment, 19-22 Charlotte Road, EC2; The Honourable Artillery Company, City Road, EC1.
For more details, visit www.princes-foundation.org/whatson.