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20 November 2017The Gleaming Spires of London – an armchair tour of London’s finest buildings.
16 October 2017William Cobbett and James Gillray: Political and Personal Cartoons of the early C19th.
18 September 2017Nursery Notions: The Illustration, Music and History of Nursery Rhymes
19 June 2017Objects of Desire: Cabinets and Ornamental Boxes for the Collector
15 May 2017Contemporary Artist:Anthony Gormley and Anish Kapoor
10 April 2017 Vivaldi in Venice
20 March 2017The Glasgow Boys (this will follow the AGM)
20 February 2017Creating A Splash-The St Ives Society of Artists (1927-1952)
16 January 2017 Cobwebs of Fashion-Honiton Lace
12 December 2016Humour in Music
21 November 2016Inn Signia: the Artwork and Stories behind peculiar Pub Names
17 October 2016Lady Butler-Battle Artist
19 September 2016Dale Chihuly

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The Gleaming Spires of London – an armchair tour of London’s finest buildings. Ian Swankie Monday 20 November 2017

London boasts an extraordinary range of architecture and this talk reveals the evolution of the capital through its great buildings. We start with a brief look at the development of architecture in the capital and then focus on the modern.

Whether we like it or not, by 2020 more than 200 buildings in London will be over 20 storeys high including dozens twice this height. This talk looks at the best of these buildings including the cutting edge designs of the latest towers such as The Shard, The Walkie-Talkie, and The Cheesegrater. We discover their extraordinary architectural and engineering challenges but also examine the controversies and difficult social decisions needed to manage this dramatically changing skyline.


Ian Swankie is a Londoner with a passion for art and architecture. He is an official guide at Tate Modern, Tate Britain, Guildhall Art Gallery and St Paul’s Cathedral, and gives regular tours at each venue. He is also a qualified and active freelance London guide and a member of both the City of London and Westminster Guide Lecturer Associations. Clients include NADFAS and WEA groups, Transport for London, the National Trust and London Open House. In 2012 he established a weekly independent art lecture group in Richmond and gives talks on a variety of subjects.