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2020 Mid-Year Review

Club Reviews | Lynne Bryant, Hon. Secretary

Wednesday 5 August 2020

We are pleased that technology has enabled the Club to keep in touch with you but no-one can pretend it's the same as being in a room together. Lost are the cheeky asides and banter in between courses at our debates, and the catching up on work and family on our day trips. 

Again we thank Michael Squire for providing a 'home' for our winter party Upstairs at the Department Store. That was Monday 3rd February. On that day in Parliament Matt Hancock, Secretary for State and Social Care, announced the UK chief medical officers have raised the risk level of Coronavirus to the UK from low to moderate.
Was this the core subject of our conversations ? Of course not – we had a jolly good evening, laughed a lot and looked forward to see each other again.

And we did. Many of us met again on 24th February for an excellent tour led by Paul Monaghan and Ken Powell of One Finsbury Square. Originally designed by Peter Foggo at Arup in the 1980s, Grade II listed in 2015 and now refurbished by architects Allford Hall Monaghan Morris with Morag Myerscough, the artist and designer. She has brought joyous and bold colour into the atrium and newly created public space.

Four weeks later we were in lockdown. We had to adapt. I'm delighted that so many of you have been so supportive.

Our first on-line interaction was to share our interpretations of 'Isolation', this was followed by the Club's first photographic competition; My World through a Window : Light and Life. The two winners were Chris Dyson and Charles Saumarez-Smith. First prize for each section was a ticket to the next physical supper debate. This was then followed by you submitting your Isolation Portraits for our v-gallery.

With these three themes we have been privileged to share your personal moments over this time of change. Please click on the relevant links to read and view more.

2020 Mid-Year Review

Two intense v-debates followed.
Despite these taking place remotely via Zoom there was still the usual passion which is experienced with personal interaction!

Tall Buildings after Covid. Is the party over?
In 2019 London and Manchester built a record number of towers, past Hon. Secretary Peter Murray asked if this would continue or “is the party over”?
We thank; representing the motion Barbara Weiss from the skyline campaign and Professor Robert Adam, with Karen Cook of PLP and Peter Stewart opposing. The poll at the end of the debate :Yes it is: 62%; No it’s not: 28%.
Quite a turnaround from the beginning that polled : Yes it is: 33%; No it’s not: 47%; Undecided 20%

Our second Zoom debate.

Peter Murray asked : Is the planning system working?
Representing the motion were Victoria Hills, Chief Executive of Royal Town Planning institute and Steve Quartermain, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government with Paul Finch, of Architects Journal and Roger Zogolovitch of Solid Space opposing.
The poll on this debate was closer - at the beginning Yes, it is working : 26%; Not it's not 55%; Undecided 18%
The final poll : Yes it is working 34%; No it's not 58%; Undecided 8%.

NB: you will need to sign into the website to read and watch both debate outcomes

Our most recent event - 'Smoke and Mirrors? The not-so-dark art of marketing and communications' was the inaugural event organised by some of the Club's NextGen Committee for our younger up and coming members. Look out for more events to come!

Moderated by Emily Watson, Club members and Public Relations professionals : Claire Curtis, Caroline Cole, Celeste Bolte and Rory Olcayto, shared their wisdom on creating and maintaining visibility through various forms of media.


For every event there are unsung hero's without whose work our events and communications would fail. This goes beyond the faces you see and those you know. We must be particularly grateful to the volunteers who attend, assess and report on our events. Without them we would not have the events and blog summaries to share.

If you have ideas for future events, we'd love to know - please email myself, Mike or Rowena

On behalf of your committee, keep safe and we look forward to the time when we can all be in a room together again.

Best wishes,
Lynne