The Twentieth Century Society

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Events Archive

Spring Lecture Series Cities of the British Isles: Milton Keynes




Milton Keynes: Thursday 25th March 2021 at 18.30  Presented by Professor Guy Ortolano

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.

Guy will use the housing of Milton Keynes as a lens through which to view the fate of the modern movement more broadly.

In the new town of Milton Keynes, designated in 1967, flat roofs and clean lines characterized several early housing estates, from Jeremy Dixon and Edward Jones’s Netherfield to Norman Foster’s Beanhill.  However, by the early 1980s the Milton Keynes Development Corporation was instructing architects to follow a ‘traditional house formula’ instead, and this resulted in such estates as Great Linford and Neath Hill.  How did this change come about? 

Guy Ortolano is Professor of History at New York University.  He is the author of Thatcher's Progress: From Social Democracy to Market Liberalism through an English New Town (Cambridge, 2019).  He lives in a thirty-storey concrete tower block in New York City.

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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