chapter
6 Pages

Introduction

In 1956, the Arts Council held an exhibition, ‘45-‘55, Ten Years of British Architecture’.

Including sections on housing, school building and the South Bank Exhibition of 1951,

in its coverage of both building type and style, the exhibition demonstrated that a

remarkable transformation had taken place across Britain: socially and architecturally it

was now a modernist nation. John Summerson, in his introduction to the accompa-

nying catalogue, summarized the shift:

In 1945, for the first time in Britain’s history, building effort was canalized

into great national schemes … designed for the welfare of the country at

large. The contrast with 1938, with its lavish cinemas, its luxury flats, office

blocks, town halls, and civic centres was complete: the war interval had

constituted the most dramatic full stop in the history of building of Britain.1