Bloomsbury Theatre and Studio


Survey of London Annual Lecture 2024, with Gillian Darley

05 June 2024, 6:30 pm

Photo of Senate House

London's Knowledge Quarter: Commissions and Omissions in Bloomsbury and Beyond

Event Information

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Bloomsbury Theatre
020 3108 1000

The Survey of London celebrates its 130th anniversary in 2024 with the launch of an annual lecture tackling an aspect of the city’s built environment where past, present and future meet, and embracing the principle that the city belongs to all of us. Our first guest speaker – the eminent writer and broadcaster Gillian Darley – will investigate the University of London’s site since 1894: a story, now as then, of individual and institutional vision, inspirational patronage and extraordinary outcomes. In the lead-up to UCL’s bicentennial celebrations in 2026, Darley’s lecture will situate the college in its wider contexts and communities. There are mighty buildings in the picture, but there is also a light-hearted cast in the wings...

This event also celebrates the work of students on the Bartlett School of Architecture’s MA in Architecture and Historic Urban Environments with the screening of a short film specially curated and created by them. Our students will reflect on their experiences of learning in London as a laboratory, and how the Survey of London’s mission and methods have helped them to ask new questions about this city and others around the world.

Photo credit: Chris Redgrave


About the Survey of London

The Survey of London is a unique public history project with an international reputation for presenting the most authoritative and accessible interpretation of the city’s built environment. Begun in 1894 in the East End of London, in a context of immense and rapid change, the Survey’s original mission was as a vehicle for educational and public good. Its founder C. R. Ashbee, alarmed by the loss of historic buildings for redevelopment at a time when there was little or no heritage protection, sought to understand and record London’s built fabric, believing in its capacity to educate and enhance people’s lives. Over the past 130 years, the Survey has developed into a detailed, diverse and inclusive work of urban and architectural history, exploring and embracing new methods of research and modes of sharing its work (for example, with the Histories of Whitechapel project). It has been a research unit of the Bartlett School of Architecture at UCL since 2013, contributing to teaching across the school as well as continuing to produce published volumes as part of its long-running series.

About Gillian Darley

Gillian Darley – architectural historian, critic, biographer and journalist – has based her career on the belief that to be a historian you must be open to the contemporary, and to be a critic of the new you must know your history. A former chair of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings and an immediate past president of the Twentieth Century Society, she has often been focused on London and issues of contemporary development and conservation. Her mission is to engage a wide public with sharp, well-informed writing and speaking on radio, podcast and television, such as her BBC Radio profile on the architect Elisabeth Scott (the youngest and first woman architect to win an international competition with her design for the Royal Shakespeare Theatre) and her BBC TV broadcast on the architectural critic Ian Nairn, ‘The Man Who Fought the Planners’. She was awarded an OBE in 2015. For more about Gillian and her extensive work in publishing and broadcasting, see gilliandarley.com

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