chapter  6
17 Pages

CLASSIC CARBUNCLES AND MEAN STREETS

The debate over the quality of the built environment always intensifies in periods of rapid redevelopment, and the late 1980s in London were no exception. The general public, special interest groups, the media and built environment professionals and, most influentially, the Prince of Wales all entered the debate about the rapidity and scale of change in Central London, the loss of cherished townscape and local communities, and the quality of the new architecture. The debate has many historic resonances, even with the post-fire debates of 1666-7 when the key opportunity for radical re-design of the capital was lost. But more recent parallels can be drawn with the protests that culminated in the formation of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (1877), the Georgian Society (1937), the Victorian Society and Civic Trust (1957) and the Thirties Society (1979). There are exact parallels with 1973 when the publication of Goodbye London (Booker and Lycett Green 1973) identified 390 redevelopment projects that threatened the conservation of the city’s historic character.