Town Planning Review

The ‘spirit of living continuity’? Revisiting the urban vision, methodologies and influence of the Studies in Conservation

Town Planning Review (2019), 90, (1), 33–55.

Abstract

The late 1960s witnessed sustained debate about the prevailing direction of policy towards the existing built environment. Against that background, an initiative launched in 1966 saw small teams of consultants commissioned to prepare analytic and advisory reports on Bath, Chester, Chichester and York. Their reports were belatedly published between February and May 1969. They were intended not just to provide specific information about four cathedral cities but also collectively to act as pilot studies able to indicate more generally the options available to policymakers. In this paper, we make use of oral testimony, archive sources and contemporary commentaries to identify the origins and purpose of this initiative, discuss the intrinsic visions offered for the different cities, and comment on the methodologies proposed for achieving conservation. The final section provides historiographic commentary on the significance of the Studies in Conservation half a century after their publication.

Access Token
£25.00
If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

ADSHEAD, S. D., MINTER, C. J. and NEEDHAM, C. W. C. (1948), York: A Plan for Its Progress and Preservation, York, Ben Johnson. York: A Plan for Its Progress and Preservation Google Scholar

ALDOUS, T. (1975), Goodbye Britain?, London, Sidgwick and Jackson. Goodbye Britain? Google Scholar

ANDREAE, S. (1996), ‘From comprehensive development to conservation areas’, in M. Hunter (ed.), Preserving the Past, Stroud, Alan Sutton, 134–55. From comprehensive development to conservation areas Preserving the Past 134 55 Google Scholar

ANON. (1969), ‘Conservation international’, Architectural Review, 146, 409–10. Google Scholar

ANON. (1973), ‘Bath: city in extremis’, Architectural Review, 153, 280–306. Google Scholar

ANON. (2003), ‘Twentieth century Chester 1914–2000: town planning and the built environment, 1945–74’, in C. P. Lewis and A. T. Thacker (eds), A History of the County of Chester, vol. 5, Part 1, The City of Chester: General History and Topography, London, Boydell and Brewer, 258–61. Google Scholar

BRETT, L. G. B. (1965), Landscape in Distress, London, Architectural Press. Landscape in Distress Google Scholar

BUCHANAN, C. D. (1958), Mixed Blessing: The Motor in Britain, London, Leonard Hill. Mixed Blessing: The Motor in Britain Google Scholar

BURROWS, G. S. (1966), Chichester: Preservation and Progress, Chichester, West Sussex County Council. Chichester: Preservation and Progress Google Scholar

BURROWS, G. S. (1968), Chichester: A Study in Conservation: Report to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government and Chichester Borough Council, London, HMSO. Chichester: A Study in Conservation: Report to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government and Chichester Borough Council Google Scholar

CBP (COLIN BUCHANAN AND PARTNERS) (1965), Bath: A Planning and Transport Study, London, Colin Buchanan and Partners. Google Scholar

CBP (COLIN BUCHANAN AND PARTNERS) (1968), Bath: A Study in Conservation: Report to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government and Bath City Council, London, HMSO. Google Scholar

CHESTERTON, E. U. with MANASSEH, L. (1964), The Historic Core of King’s Lynn: A Study and Plan, Norwich, Norfolk County Council. The Historic Core of King’s Lynn: A Study and Plan Google Scholar

CROSSMAN, R. (1975), The Diaries of a Cabinet Minister, vol. 1, Minister of Housing 1964–66, London, Hamish Hamilton and Jonathan Cape. The Diaries of a Cabinet Minister 1 Google Scholar

CULLEN, G. (1961), Townscape, London, Architectural Press. Townscape Google Scholar

CUMMIN, D. (ed.) (1973), York 2000: People in Protest, York, York 2000. York 2000: People in Protest Google Scholar

DE FIGUEIREDO, P. and MORRIS, C. (2012), Preservation and Progress: The Story of Chester since 1960, Chester, Chester Civic Trust. Preservation and Progress: The Story of Chester since 1960 Google Scholar

DELAFONS, J. (1997), Politics and Preservation, London, E. and F. N. Spon. Politics and Preservation Google Scholar

DENBY, E. (1963), ‘The waste of homes’, Architectural Review, 133, 6. The waste of homes Architectural Review 133 6 Google Scholar

DIA (DONALD INSALL AND ASSOCIATES) (1968), Chester: A Study in Conservation: Report to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government and Chester City Council, London, HMSO. Google Scholar

EDITORS (1969), ‘Down to earth’, Architects’ Journal, 149, 1152–53. Google Scholar

ESHER, L. (1968), York: A Study in Conservation: Report to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government and York City Council, London, HMSO. York: A Study in Conservation: Report to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government and York City Council Google Scholar

FERGUSSON, A. (1973), The Sack of Bath, Salisbury, Compton Russell. The Sack of Bath Google Scholar

GLENDINNING, M. (2013), The Conservation Movement: A History of Architectural Preservation –Antiquity to Modernity, Abingdon, Routledge. The Conservation Movement: A History of Architectural Preservation Google Scholar

GOLD, J. R. (1997), The Experience of Modernism: Modern Architects and the Future City, 1928–1953, London, E. and F. N. Spon. The Experience of Modernism: Modern Architects and the Future City, 1928–1953 Google Scholar

GOLD, J. R. (2004), ‘York: a suitable case for conservation’, Twentieth Century Architecture, 7, 87–99. York: a suitable case for conservation Twentieth Century Architecture 7 87 99 Google Scholar

GOLD, J. R. (2007), The Practice of Modernism: Modern Architects and Urban Transformation, 1954–1972, London, Routledge. The Practice of Modernism: Modern Architects and Urban Transformation, 1954–1972 Google Scholar

GOLD, J. R. (2012), ‘A SPUR to action: the Society for the Promotion of Urban Renewal, “antiscatter” and the crisis of reconstruction’, Planning Perspectives, 27, 199–223. A SPUR to action: the Society for the Promotion of Urban Renewal, “antiscatter” and the crisis of reconstruction Planning Perspectives 27 199 223 Google Scholar

GOLD, J. R. (2013), ‘Modernism, narratives of renewal and the historiography of cross-national urban regeneration’, in M. E. Leary and J. McCarthy (eds), Handbook of Urban Regeneration, London, Routledge, 23–32. Modernism, narratives of renewal and the historiography of cross-national urban regeneration Handbook of Urban Regeneration 23 32 Google Scholar

GREEN, A. H. J. (2015), Chichester in the Sixties, Chichester, History Press. Chichester in the Sixties Google Scholar

GREENWOOD, C. (1945), Chester: A Plan for Redevelopment, Chester, Phillipson and Golder. Chester: A Plan for Redevelopment Google Scholar

GRENFELL BAINES, G. (1965), Chester: A Plan for the Central Area, October 1964, Chester, Chester Corporation. Chester: A Plan for the Central Area, October 1964 Google Scholar

GRUEN, V. (1964), The Heart of Our Cities, New York, Simon and Schuster. The Heart of Our Cities Google Scholar

GUNN, S. (2015), ‘Introduction’, in C. Buchanan, Traffic in Towns: A Study of the Long Term Problems of Traffic in Urban Areas (The Buchanan Report), Abingdon, Routledge, vi–xiv. Introduction Traffic in Towns: A Study of the Long Term Problems of Traffic in Urban Areas (The Buchanan Report) vi xiv Google Scholar

HALL, P. (1969), ‘Salvaging our historic towns’, New Society, 349 (5 June), 872–74. Salvaging our historic towns New Society 349 872 74 Google Scholar

HUNTER, M. (ed.) (1996), Preserving the Past: The Rise of Heritage in Modern Britain, Stroud, Alan Sutton. Preserving the Past: The Rise of Heritage in Modern Britain Google Scholar

INSALL, D. (2017), ‘Chester: conservation as positive action’, Context, 148, 17–20. Chester: conservation as positive action Context 148 17 20 Google Scholar

INSALL, D. (2018), ‘The Chester Historic Town Study and Conservation Action Programme’, Transactions, Association of the Society for the Conservation of Historic Buildings, 40, 3–14. The Chester Historic Town Study and Conservation Action Programme Transactions, Association of the Society for the Conservation of Historic Buildings 40 3 14 Google Scholar

JOKILEHTO, J. (1999), A History of Architectural Conservation, London, Butterworth-Heinemann. A History of Architectural Conservation Google Scholar

JOSEPH, P. L. (1959), ‘Urban renewal’, Memorandum 10135/146/1/2, November 1959, The National Archives, Kew, London, File HLG 136/39. Urban renewal Google Scholar

KENNET, W. (1972), Preservation, London, Temple Smith. Preservation Google Scholar

LARKHAM, P. J. (1996), Conservation and the City, London, Routledge. Conservation and the City Google Scholar

LARKHAM, P. J. (2003), ‘The place of conservation in UK reconstruction plans of 1942–1952’, Planning Perspectives, 18, 295–324. The place of conservation in UK reconstruction plans of 1942–1952 Planning Perspectives 18 295 324 Google Scholar

LARKHAM, P. J. (2014), ‘Changing ideas of urban conservation in mid-twentieth-century England’, Change over Time, 4, 92–113. Changing ideas of urban conservation in mid-twentieth-century England Change over Time 4 92 113 Google Scholar

LARKHAM, P. J. and JONES, A. N. (1993), ‘Conservation and conservation areas in the UK: a growing problem’, Planning Practice and Research, 8, 19–29. Conservation and conservation areas in the UK: a growing problem Planning Practice and Research 8 19 29 Google Scholar

LICHFIELD, N. and PROUDLOVE, A. (1976), Conservation and Traffic: A Case Study of York, York, Ebor Press. Conservation and Traffic: A Case Study of York Google Scholar

LIPMAN, V. D. (1971), Preservation Policy Group Report, Department of the Environment, 1 January 1971, The National Archives, Kew, London, 151/17. Preservation Policy Group Report Google Scholar

MARCHI, L. Z. (2018), The Heart of the City: Legacy and Complexity of a Modern Design Idea, Abingdon, Routledge. The Heart of the City: Legacy and Complexity of a Modern Design Idea Google Scholar

MHLG/MOT (MINISTRY OF HOUSING AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT/MINISTRY OF TRANSPORT) (1962), Town Centres: Approach to Renewal, London, HMSO. Google Scholar

MOT (MINISTRY OF TRANSPORT) (1963), Traffic in Towns, London, HMSO. Google Scholar

NAIRN, I. (1966), ‘Stop the architects now’, Observer Weekend Review, 9110 (13 February), 21. Stop the architects now Observer Weekend Review 9110 21 Google Scholar

PENDLEBURY, J. (2003), ‘Planning the historic city: 1940s reconstruction plans in Britain’, Town Planning Review, 74, 371–93. Planning the historic city: 1940s reconstruction plans in Britain Town Planning Review 74 371 93 Google Scholar

PENDLEBURY, J. (2004), ‘Reconciling history with modernity: 1940s plans for Durham and Warwick’, Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, 31, 331–48. Reconciling history with modernity: 1940s plans for Durham and Warwick Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design 31 331 48 Google Scholar

PENDLEBURY, J. (2005), ‘The modern historic city: evolving ideas in mid-20th-century Britain’, Journal of Urban Design, 10, 253–73. The modern historic city: evolving ideas in mid-20th-century Britain Journal of Urban Design 10 253 73 Google Scholar

PENDLEBURY, J. (2006), ‘Planning the historic city: 1960s plans for Bath and York’, in J. Monclus and M. Guardia (eds), Culture, Urbanism and Planning, Abingdon, Ashgate, 149–64. Planning the historic city: 1960s plans for Bath and York Culture, Urbanism and Planning 149 64 Google Scholar

PENDLEBURY, J. (2009), Conservation in the Age of Consensus, Abingdon, Routledge. Conservation in the Age of Consensus Google Scholar

PENDLEBURY, J. and STRANGE, I. (2011), ‘Urban conservation and the shaping of the English city’, Town Planning Review, 82, 361–92. Urban conservation and the shaping of the English city Town Planning Review 82 361 92 Google Scholar

PINDER, D. (2005), ‘Modernist urbanism and its monsters’, in T. Mical (ed.), Surrealism and Architecture, London, Routledge, 179–90. Modernist urbanism and its monsters Surrealism and Architecture 179 90 Google Scholar

POTTS, J., BRAYNE, C. and BROOKS, V. (1969), Esher’s York: A Study in Conservation, York, Yorkshire Evening Press. Esher’s York: A Study in Conservation Google Scholar

POWER, N. S. (1965), Forgotten People: A Challenge to a Caring Community, Evesham, Arthur James. Forgotten People: A Challenge to a Caring Community Google Scholar

POWERS, A. (2004), ‘Conservation: the heroic period’, Twentieth Century Architecture, 7, 9–18. Conservation: the heroic period Twentieth Century Architecture 7 9 18 Google Scholar

RICHARDS, J. M. (1970), ‘Dropping the pilot?’, Architectural Review, 148, 341–48. Dropping the pilot? Architectural Review 148 341 48 Google Scholar

RODWELL, D. (2007), Conservation and Sustainability in Historic Cities, Oxford, Blackwell. Conservation and Sustainability in Historic Cities Google Scholar

ROOTH, T. (2015), Saving Our City: The Chichester Society in the 1970s, Bognor Regis, Woodfield. Saving Our City: The Chichester Society in the 1970s Google Scholar

SANDBROOK, D. (2006), White Heat: A History of Britain in the Swinging Sixties, London, Abacus. White Heat: A History of Britain in the Swinging Sixties Google Scholar

SERT, J. L. and TYRWHITT, J. (eds) (1952), The Heart of the City: Towards the Humanisation of Urban Life, London, Lund Humphries. The Heart of the City: Towards the Humanisation of Urban Life Google Scholar

SHANNON, J. (1996), York Civic Trust – The First Fifty Years: Preserving, Restoring, Enhancing, Enriching England’s Second City, York, York Civic Trust. York Civic Trust – The First Fifty Years: Preserving, Restoring, Enhancing, Enriching England’s Second City Google Scholar

SIRAVO, F. (2015), ‘Planning and managing historic urban landscapes’, in F. Bandarin and R. van Oers (eds), Reconnecting the City: The Historic Urban Landscape Approach, Chichester, Wiley Blackwell, 161–78. Planning and managing historic urban landscapes Reconnecting the City: The Historic Urban Landscape Approach 161 78 Google Scholar

STAFF REPORTER (1966), ‘How to preserve old towns: five chosen for pilot studies’, Times, 14 May, 10. Google Scholar

TAYLOR, N. (1967), ‘The failure of housing’, Architectural Review, 142, 341–59. The failure of housing Architectural Review 142 341 59 Google Scholar

TEAFORD, J. C. (1990), The Rough Road to Renaissance: Urban Revitalization in America, 1940–1985, Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press. The Rough Road to Renaissance: Urban Revitalization in America, 1940–1985 Google Scholar

WARD, P. (ed.) (1968), Conservation and Development in Historic Towns and Cities, Newcastle upon Tyne, Oriel Press. Conservation and Development in Historic Towns and Cities Google Scholar

WHYTE, I. B. (ed.) (2003), Modernism and the Spirit of the City, Abingdon, Routledge. Modernism and the Spirit of the City Google Scholar

WORSKETT, K. (1969), The Character of Towns: An Approach to Conservation, London, Architectural Press. The Character of Towns: An Approach to Conservation Google Scholar

WORSKETT, K. (1975), ‘Great Britain: progress in conservation’, Architectural Review, 157, 9–18. Great Britain: progress in conservation Architectural Review 157 9 18 Google Scholar

If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

Details

Author details

Gold, John R.

Pendlebury, John