Neo-Georgian Architecture 1880-1970

BookNeo-Georgian Architecture 1880-1970

Neo-Georgian Architecture 1880-1970

A reappraisal

Historic England


May 15th, 2016





This publication investigates how, where, when and why the Neo-Georgian has been represented over the course of the last century. It assesses its impact as a broader cultural phenomenon through a consideration of its buildings, objects, institutions, and actors. It contends that this was not another dying gasp of Revivalism restricted to 1920s Britain but a complex assertion of national image and identity with its origins before and its influence extending beyond this ’lost’ decade, well into the post-WWII period.

Different ideologies have been attached to the Neo-Georgian at different times and places, particularly notions of home, nation, gender and class. The papers explore the construction, reception and historiography of ‘the Georgian’ throughout the late nineteenth and twentieth century – and most particularly its relationship to modernism – through discussion of a range of building types, planning (including the new concept of Civic Design) and design generally. The expansion of the public sector in the twentieth century saw Neo-Georgian embraced for a wide variety of buildings and sites. Re-interpretations and adaptations of the Georgian have been a constant theme over the past century and constitute a powerful and enduring strand in Anglophile culture across the globe.

The papers consider interpretations of the Neo-Georgian not only in England but in places as diverse as New Zealand and America.

Historic England has excelled itself with a publication that takes a fresh look at a style long viewed as little more than a profanity ... Ne-Georgian Architecture 1880-1970 offers the start of a fuller understanding, sketching out the style's appearance as a plaything of 1920s elites before its municipal heyday ... This is a publication that should open eyes and, hopefully, result in a full monograph.
John Jervis, ICON Magazine

... the book's chapters offer a compelling overview of the subject, with common threads connecting them. ... By initiating a long overdue conversation on the merits and drawbacks of the Neo-Georgian style, this book paves the way for further consideration of the subject.
Robin Prater, Lutyens Society Newsletter

The book is splendidly illustrated throughout with historic and contemporary photographs and drawings. Between them the authors make a timely call for a more balanced view of 20th century architecture. The book will be of interest to architectural historians but it has a much wider appeal in making a case for a widespread but often underestimated architectural style.
Michael Taylor, CONTEXT

It remains to be said that Neo-Georgian Architecture is handsomely produced and contains excellent pictures, few of them published before. It reflects credit on Historic England as well as its authors and editors.
Andrew Saint, Transactions of the Ancient Monuments Society


The book's scope extend from the 1880s to the 1970s, but scholars of the interwar period, when the Neo-Georgian achieved near ubiquity, will find much that is stimulating here. Neo-Georgian Architecture reminds us that Modernism was not the only architectural language of complexity and ambition ...
Neil Shasore, The Georgian

University of Westminster

This is a fascinating and tightly organised collection, which functions well as an illustrated survey while also providing ways of understanding the shifting discourses and contexts within which the Neo-Georgian has been conceptually constructed over the long timeline established by the editors. It is also a strong demonstration of the way architectural history can work as a collaborative enterprise, capable of addressing significant gaps in both intellectual history and practical knowledge. ... the cumulative effect of these studies is highly constructive, and the positive advocacy of the Neo-Georgian as something far more complex than pastiche .... is well judged. The book works convincingly as reappraisal of a mostly default style that has never been subjected to consistent and clear critical appraisal, and has had to endure very many insults.
Ian Hunt, Architectural History

Author Information

Julian Holder is Lecturer in the History and Theory of Architecture department at the University of Salford. Elizabeth McKellar is Professor of Architectural and Design History at the Open University

Table of Contents

Section TitlePage
Foreword by Louise Campbell
1 Introduction: Re-appraising the Neo-Georgian
Julian Holder & Elizabeth McKellar
Part I: Origins of the Neo-Georgian
2 Quality in Quality Street: The Neo-Georgian style and its place in architectural history
Alan Powers
3 The Call to Order: Neo-Georgian and the Liverpool School of Architecture
Peter Richmond
4 Georgian London before Georgian London: Beresford Chancellor, Rasmussen and ‘The true and sad story of the Regent’s Street’
Elizabeth McKellar
Part II: Developing the Neo-Georgian language
5 Edwin Luytens (1869–1944): Wrenaissance to Neo-Georgian
Margaret Richardson
6 Emmanuel Vincent Harris (1876–1971): civic, civil, and sane
Julian Holder and Nick Holmes
7 Giles Gilbert Scott (1880–1960) and Classical architecture
Gavin Stamp
8 C H James (1893–1953): Neo-Georgian - from the small house to the town hall
Nick Chapple
Part III: Establishing a new tradition: typologies of the Neo-Georgian
9 Bankers’ Georgian
Neil Burton
10 A state of approval: Neo-Georgian architecture and His Majesty’s Office of Works, 1914–1939
Julian Holder
11 Neo-Georgian: the other style in British 20th-century university architecture?
William Whyte
Part IV: Neo-Georgian; a prelude to Modernism?
12 ‘Modern Swedish Rococo’: the Neo-Georgian interior in Britain, c 1920–c 1945
Clare Taylor
13 ‘A live universal language’: The Georgian as Motif in interwar English architectural modernism
Elizabeth Darling
Part V: Global Neo-Georgian
14 The Neo-Georgian in New Zealand, 1918–1940: architectural revivalism at the end of empire
Ian Lochhead
15 ‘Phony Coloney’: the Reception of the Georgian and the construction of 20th-century America
Stephen Hague