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Later Twentieth Century Architecture NHPP Activity 4A2

Research carried out 2011-2015, concerned with increasing our understanding of the significance and character of later 20th century architecture. It was part of the National Heritage Protection Plan.

Scope of the activity

Post-war listing is one of our most high-profile areas of work. Some listing cases have attracted intense public debate about what is special and what deserves protection. The Grade I listing of the much-admired Lloyd's Building (1982-86, Richard Rogers Partnership) was one of the most celebrated listings of 2013. Our role is carry out objective, expert contextual research and assessment to inform decisions about protection.

The threshold for awarding national designation is high and we worked closely with owners; in-house and wider heritage sector experts and architects when carrying out thematic listing work. The activity included making the results of research known through publications and the internet.

Lloyd's Building, City of London. Designed 1978 by Richard Rogers Partnership, and begun 1981. Listed Grade I in 2011.
Lloyd's Building, City of London. Designed 1978 by Richard Rogers Partnership, and begun 1981. Listed Grade I in 2011. © James Davies, English Heritage

Expected protection results

A better understanding of post-war architecture - through illustrated research series reports, publications and web resources - is an important protection result. This has also informed rigorous assessment for statutory designation (i.e. legal protection) so that the best examples of the period are recognised and published on the National Heritage List for England.

Hollins College, Manchester
Hollins College, Manchester

Projects in this activity

England's schools 1962-88

This major study highlighted the diversity of post-war schools through a series of regional case studies, supplemented by a national overview of educational and architectural contexts and school building types. Commissioned at a time of significant change in the school estate, the project aimed to provide a national context for assessing, protecting and managing post-war schools. The report in our Research Report Series, is fully illustrated with archival images, new photography by James O. Davies and illustrations by Allan Adams. Read more about the project on our 'Heritage Calling' blog.

St Olave's School, Orpington, Kent
St Olave's School, Orpington, Kent

English Heritage architect series

English Heritage worked with RIBA Publications and the Twentieth Century Society to produce a series of books on 20th century architects, most of whom had not been previously published in book form. The eleven titles produced range from major British post-war practices such as Powell and Moya; Leonard Manasseh and Partners; Chamberlin, Powell and Bon; Robert Maguire and Keith Murray; and Ahrends, Burton and Koralek.

The 1930s is represented by Wells Coates, and small-scale (mainly domestic) architecture by Aldington, Craig and Collinge. Traditional as well as modern architecture is covered, by McMorran and Whitby and by the church architect Stephen Dykes Bower, while the regions are celebrated by Ryder and Yates, based in Newcastle; and by John Madin and Partners in Birmingham.

Each book takes the form of a 30,000-word study, with plans and new photography, and a complete list of works. English Heritage took over publication of the series from 2012.

Public engagement work for later C20 heritage

Public engagement was an important area of work including the organisation of the Brutal and Beautiful exhibition at the Wellington Arch. This  exhibition illustrated what makes the post-war era special and why the very best of its buildings are worthy of protection. We also jointly organised a sold-out debate with a panel of experts at the RIBA (Royal British Institute of Architecture) in October 2013 on post-war listing. Widespread national media coverage of both events generated positive public debate on social media.

The Studio, Utling
The Studio, Utling

Thematic understanding and designation assessment of Post-War buildings and landscapes

We are began a rolling series of projects on post-war subjects, starting with the mid 1960s, where English Heritage's pioneering post-war thematic listing projects ended, through to the early 1990s looking ahead to when these assets will be eligible for designation under the so-called 'thirty year rule' (Principles of Selection for Listing Buildings, DCMS, March 2010).

Key links with other NHPP activities

9 ceramic murals, Farringdon, London
Nine ceramic murals, Farringdon, London
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