The Twentieth Century Society

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Events Archive

Spring Lecture Series Cities of the British Isles: Liverpool




Liverpool: Thursday 4th March 2021 at 18.30  Presented by Dr Joseph Sharples

With travel remaining restricted, the Spring lecture series will take a tour of the British Isles. Each lecture will consider key twentieth-century developments in one location, offering a mixture of the familiar and the unexpected. From the 'new city' of Milton Keynes to Dublin and Edinburgh, where new buildings sat alongside historic architecture, we'll explore the modern urban landscape in all its variety.

Liverpool reached its commercial zenith in the early 20th century, suffered widespread destruction during the Second World War, became a focus of popular culture in the 1960s and experienced catastrophic decline in the ensuing decades. By the 1990s it was reinventing itself as a tourist destination.

Joseph Sharples will explore how the city’s history is reflected in its buildings. American-inspired Classicism dominated the interwar years, revealing the influence of Charles Reilly, head of the Liverpool School of Architecture. Comprehensive redevelopment in the 1960s and 1970s destroyed much, but produced significant monuments such as Tripe & Wakeham’s, Royal Insurance headquarters, and Frederick Gibberd’s,  Catholic Cathedral. After a long fallow period, noted architects are once again reshaping the city.

Joseph Sharples is Curator of Mackintosh and Applied Art and Design Collections at the Hunterian Museum & Art Gallery, Glasgow and author of Liverpool in the Pevsner City Guides series (Yale University Press, 2004).


We’ll send you a Zoom link by email after you book, which will enable you to “join” the event, and we’ll be using the Q&A function to take questions at the end. If you’ve not used Zoom before, clicking on the Zoom link will take you through the set-up process, hopefully simply and smoothly! You should receive an automated link within an hour of booking so please check your spam/junk emails if you haven't received this. Any further problems please contact


Members: £3, non-members £5

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The Twentieth Century Society is a registered charity, no 1110244.