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Twentieth Century Society

Richard Cavendish introduces the Society which seeks to preserve 20th century buildings.

Twenty years ago, there were societies for the defence of the architectural heritage down to Victorian and Edwardian times, but there was no organised body to raise a voice for twentieth century buildings. This gap was filled in 1979 with the founding of a group which called itself the Thirties Society, though it set its alarm clock back to 1914. It changed its name to the Twentieth Century Society in 1992, to reflect the true scope of its interests.

The first chairman was Bevis Hillier, then the antiques correspondent of The Times and an ex-editor of The Connoisseur, and more recently the biographer of Sir John Betjeman. He says he was talked into it by Simon Jenkins, a future editor of The Times, and Marcus Binney, the founder of SAVE Britain's Heritage. The three of them persuaded Osbert Lancaster to be president and enlisted support from Betjeman, Lady Diana Cooper and other notables. The Society's chairman today is Gavin Stamp, the architectural historian.

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