Young Planners Conference: Tour 10: Managing Change in the City of London

Delegates were taken on a heritage tour within the City of London hosted by CgMs Historic Building Consultants Laurie Handcock and Kate Falconer-Hall. This gave delegates an insight into the City of London’s unique governance arrangements and how the ‘Corporation’ made up of business members in since 1189 could be the reason for the strong economic motives behind development and the management of heritage.

The tour started at the Broadgate Centre. Delegates learnt how such development was  the City of London’s response to the change in finical regulation through the big bang and the City’s response to the newly developed Canary Wharf.  The building designed by Peter Foggo at Arup and finished in 1991 was due to be listed in by English Heritage but was met with a campaign by London based newspaper City AM and was refused by the then Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt. This set a precedent for the City of London to only preserve heritage assets which could help serve the City of London’s economic function.

The walk continued to St Ethelburga’s  which was a 15th Century building bombed by the IRA in 1993 and subsequently reconstructed as a centre for reconcilliation and piece. The reconstruction of the building was controversial at the time, utilising a number of modern materials. It is next to the 100 Bishopsgate Tower which is currently under construction and will dwarf the centre. Next the delegates were walked to Lloyd’s of London designed by Lord Richard Rogers. The delegates learned that unlike the Broadgate Centre, Lloyd’s of London was listed in 2011, 30 years after construction began. .

After studying the Lloyd’s of London building delegates were asked to look behind them at one of the rare survivals of 1666 Blitz, St Andrew against one of the most iconic London buildings ‘ The Gherkin’.  It was discussed if ‘The Gherkin’ would be so successful without the older St Andrew’s nearby. It adds a sense of scale.

Delegates where then taken to Leadenhall market which was preserved as it served a purpose for the City. However, despite its historic value delegates were told to look at the sides of Leadenhall market and how buildings had been constructed around the market without considering its heritage.

The tour next stopped at 1 Poultry Street a building designed by James Stirling which delegates where told divided opinion. The post modernist building was built 20 years after it was designed in 1970’s. Discussion was brought about whether it would be listed like Lloyd’s of London due to its famous architect.

The tour ended on London Bridge looking back at the City of London providing a great perspective of the City and its surroundings. The tour demonstrated that the City’s development has been driven by market forces, rather than preservation and heritage being unlike many other places in the UK.

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