The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings

Events Archive

In Person: Twentieth Century Shops Lecture Series 2: Department Stores



The Gallery, 70 Cowcross St

Twentieth Century Shops Lecture Series 2: Department Stores

Thursday 8 February at 6.30 pm

The Gallery, 70 Cowcross Street, London, EC1M 6EJ

The second lecture in the series Twentieth Century Shops: From Arndale to Zara, marking the publication of 100 20th Century Shops.

Department stores evolved in the late nineteenth century but by the First World War had grown in ambition, both architecturally and in business terms, and came to dominate the retail scene of the middle decades of the twentieth century. The interwar years saw the sector shift away from local family businesses to the groupings that remain familiar today, such as Selfridges, Debenhams and House of Fraser. In the 21st century their future is uncertain, with changing shopping habits and the Covid pandemic leading to many department stores becoming redundant. Matthew Whitfield will look at the history and architecture of buildings that shaped our high street but are now under threat.

Matthew Whitfield is an architectural investigator at Historic England, for whom he has been researching the history of department stores.

In person price: C20 Society Members -  £10;  Non-Members - £ 15;  Young C20 member + guest- Free;  Student + guest- £5.

*For student pricing please select from the dropdown option next to 'membership number' on the booking form below.*

*For Young C20 members, please email  to secure a place.*

Includes a glass of wine

Note: This event is hybrid and is being run both in-person at Cowcross Street Gallery and online via Zoom. The event will be recorded and offered as a catch-up lecture for those who have booked and will be available for two weeks.

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The Twentieth Century Society is an IHBC (Institute of Historic Building conservation) recognised CPD provider.

The Twentieth Century Society is a registered charity, no 1110244

Above image:  Department Stores -  Knight and Lee, Southsea (1955-59) © John East