Between July and December 2014, the Modernist Society presented six guest talks at Manchester Central Library.

These included:

Homes for Chenge - Phil Griffin:

From the garden suburbs of Wythenshawe and the mighty modernist ship of Kennet House, through to the prefabs of Tin Town and concrete of Hulme, Manchester has built it, pulled it down, and built it again. This event will explore the Homes for Heroes scheme, early 20th century settlements like Burnage Garden Village (once described by George Bernard Shaw as “the prettiest village in Manchester”) architects Joe Sunlight and Edgar Wood, 1970s Council Housing, Frazer Crane & George Best and social housing cooperative Homes For Change.

Twelve Views of Kensal House: The Film (shot on 16mm)

“Wyeth’s documentary investigates Maxwell Fry’s ideas when he designed one of Britain’s first modern flat complexes in London’s Ladbroke Grove. Fry’s views were basically well-founded, if a little blinkered and paternalistic, determined to create a better environment for working-class tenants. But what in the late ’30s was something of an idyllic community project, has become an archetypal North Ken wasteland, semi-derelict, under-funded, and devoid of any sense of purpose or friendship.

A fascinating look at the aims and effects of social architecture which is warmly human and sharply analytical, and which offers insights, by implication, on the changes in postwar British society.”

From the North - TV in Manchester:

Our very own Eddy Rhead co founder and co-director of The Manchester Modernist Society hosts our third Library Live event. This talk will not focus so much on the creative output of the television companies based in Manchester namely the BBC, ABC and Granada but more a narrative relating to the places these television companies inhabited and how their development in the second half of the 20th century symbolised and mirrored Manchester’s wider shift from an industrial to post industrial economy along with the changing nature of television.

Mapping Manchester's Cold War Tunnels -  Martin Dodge:

This talk focuses on a massive tunnel space built in the 1950s under Manchester city centre and maps out its meanings through different periods of time and perspectives: official secrecy, technical obscurity of service space, securitised critical infrastructure, and conspiratorial obsessions.

The tunnel complex, known by its code-name ‘Guardian’, was conceived as a site of atomic-bomb resistant telecommunication equipment and given the large scale expenditure to construct it 30 metres beneath city streets it clearly had strategic importance to the British Government in terms of advancing its Cold War doctrine.

Oxford Road, the promise, planning & problems - Richard Brook:

This talk will examine the evolution of the Oxford Road corridor in the years after 1945. A series of masterplans were produced from 1945-1967 by a number of different architectural practices and in close consultation with city officers and officials. Each successive plan had its own focus that was reflective of planning policy and theory as it changed with rapidity in the post-war years. Through the built, unbuilt and partially constructed edifices of these plans Richard will show how aesthetic and policy combined in the production of social space in an era of technological progress.

Saving Preston Bus Station: This talk by Sally Stone will focus on Gate 81, a multi-disciplinary series of projects that supported the case to Save Preston Bus Station. Preston Bus Station, generally regarded as one of Britain’s most remarkable Brutalist buildings was scheduled for demolition by Preston City Council. In 2013 Gate81, alongside a strong local campaign and a (third) and successful listing application to English Heritage finally secured a future for the ‘biggest bus station in Europe”.