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London regeneration: history, politics and architecture

Course Dates: 19/03/22
Time: 10:30 - 16:30
Location: KS - Keeley Street
Explore the reconstruction of London after WWII, the decline of its infrastructure, population and economy in the 1960s and 1970s and the emergence of a truly global city by the end of the century.
This course takes place in the classroom, please follow this link to find out what we are doing to keep you safe: Staying COVID-19 secure at City Lit
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Full fee £59.00 Senior fee £47.00 Concession £30.00

Course Code: HLW55

Sat, day, 19 Mar - 19 Mar '22

Duration: 1 session

Or call to enrol:020 7831 7831

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What is the course about?

Taking a broadly chronological approach, this course will start with a summary overview of the reconstruction of London after World War Two, its crumbling infrastructure, shrinking economy and population in the 1960s and 1970s, and its re-emergence as a booming "Global City" from the 1980s onwards.
It will then focus on three very different areas of London which have undergone dramatic change since 1945: Woolwich, Stratford and Victoria.

What will we cover?

This course provides a summary overview of the reconstruction of London after World War Two, its subsequent decline and recent renaissance, including:

• The 1943 Abercrombie Plan for the rebuilding of London

• How developments after 1945 were influenced by, and departed from, the Abercrombie Plan, How grandiose plans for a "motorway Box" and the redevelopment of Whitehall and Covent Garden were stopped by an active conservation movement from the 1970s onwards

• The development of large council housing estates in both inner London and the suburbs, much Victorian housing was swept away and replaced with which mostly failed to stand the test of time.

• How London was hit by the growth of the New Towns and government policies to relocate new office and housing development out of London

• The role of the GLC, why its housing, planning and transport policies (under both Labour and Conservative control) mostly failed to revitalise London, and why it was abolished

• How new developments in the London Docklands, the deregulation of the City of London, and booming property prices started to reverse London's decline in the 1980s and 1990s

• The creation of the Mayoral system in 2000 and how two high-profile Mayors (Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson) helped attract the Olympic Games to London in 2012, fought for new infrastructure, and strongly encouraged new development.

The course will then focus on three case studies: Woolwich, Victoria and Stratford.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

• Have acquired a basic understanding of how London has been replanned, declined and then recovered since 1945

• Gain insight into the historical reasons why London's economy and population declined in the 1960s and 1970s, and how and why much post-war development in London has not stood the test of time

• Understand the challenges and opportunities presented by London's recent revival, and how the new Mayoral system and global factors have helped spur London's rapid growth.

• Understood how three very different parts of London have changed since 1945, how they could change further in the future, and what effect London-wide factors have had on them.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

The course will be of most use to people with some prior knowledge of the history and Architecture of London, but is also suitable for a complete beginner.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

The course will be delivered by PowerPoint but with lots of time for questions and answers and group discussion. Suggestions will be made about further reading at the end of the course.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

Writing materials.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

Any of the London or general history courses starting May or September. Please see the City Lit website for details.

Alex Grant

Alex Grant is a writer, researcher and consultant specialising in politics, the built environment, history and biography. Alex has been teaching courses in the modern history of London at the City Lit since 2014. After studying English at Oxford, Alex was a journalist in both the US and the UK and then spent 16 years as a Labour councillor in the London Borough of Greenwich, chairing its planning committee in 2006-2010. As well as the City Lit, Alex has lectured at the Universities of London and Sheffield, and written for the Guardian and Building Design. He blogs about politics, history and architecture at and Tweets @AlexGrant24. Working with his brother, Thomas Grant, he helped to research the bestselling Court Number One: The Old Bailey Trials that Defined Modern Britain (John Murray, 2019).

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.