The Disappearing Post-War Britain’s Architecture in Pictures

Starting a Fresh

During the early post war years the world changed dramatically. America was established as the world’s super power and the UK’s former territories of the commonwealth had well established their independence. Britain’s Empire State was in conflict with a new age. Expectations and attitudes were shifting and the whole world was in the grip of a massive drive to modernise.

After the war, Britain needed to convince the world that they were still in the driving seat on the world’s journey for what was to come. In 1951, the Festival of Britain exhibition offered Britons who had experienced a rationed and weary number of war-torn years a glimpse of a better future through new architecture, design and audacious feats of engineering. It had a huge influence on British society, kick starting a process of state-led reconstruction and renewal across the UK.

In Pictures
Pimlico Secondary School, Lupus Street, Westminster, London, 1971
Built: 1970, Demolished 2010.
Architect: John Bancroft for Greater London Council, Department of Architecture and Civic Design
Tricorn Shopping Centre, Portsmouth, Hampshire, 1965
Built: 1965. Demolished 2004.
Architect: Owen Luder Partnership
Detail of Trinity Square, Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, 1967
Built 1967. Demolished 2010.
Architect: Rodney Gordon for Owen Luder Partnership
ueen Elizabeth Square, Hutchesontown C, Gorbals, Glasgow, 1965
Built 1965. Demolished 1993.
Architect: Sir Basil Spence.
David Lister High School, Hull, 1965
Built 1965. Demolished 2012.
Architects: Lyons, Israel & Ellis
Cockenzie Power Station, Cockenzie and Port Seton, Lothian, 1971
Built 1967. Demolished 2015.
Architect: Robert Matthew Johnson-Marshall & Partners
Park Hill Estate, Sheffield, 1961
Built 1961. Currently undergoing extensive redevelopment, first phase was completed in 2011.
Architect: Jack Lynn and Ivor Smith for Sheffield Corporation City Architect’s Department








Red Road Flats, Balornock, Glasgow, c.1969
Built 1969. Final six point blocks demolished in October 2015
Architects: Sam Bunton & Associates
Hulme Crescents, Manchester, 1972
Built 1972. Demolished 1994.
Architect: Hugh Wilson and J. Lewis Womersley








All photography by RIBA Collections and their respective photographers

Our Recommended Read

Author Owen Hopkins  has explored the rise of 35 buildings, which were constructed between 1945 and 1979, and has examined how social, economic and political factors contributed to their destruction or regeneration – from Park Hill Estate in Sheffield to Hulme Crescents in Manchester. This was a period when many believed that architecture and innovative design could pave the way for a better future, and now thanks to Hopkins’s contribution we have a record of the movement before it completely disappears. Featuring works by renowned architects such as Erno Goldfinger and Peter Smithson, Lost Futures: The Disappearing Architecture of Post-War Britain is a 128-page visually pleasing must-read for all interested in history and design. Click on the image below for information.

Lost Futures: The Disappearing Architecture of Post-War Britain by Owen Hopkins
Published by the Royal Academy of Arts, 18 February 2017, £12.95 hardback


How Will President Trump Affect Climate Change?

Green architect
Many climate activists were in fear that Donald Trump’s US win would be a death knell for renewable energy. Yet despite Trump’s love for coal, there will not be a decline in renewable energy. Renewable energy is not going to be driven by fear of climate change, or concern for the environment, but by simple economics. Coal is expensive. It’s difficult and dangerous to extract and causes all sorts of health problems for coal miners, their families and neighbours… and then there’s the pollution…

Solar Energy

UAE recently broke the record for generating electricity from solar for less than 3 cents per kilowatt-hour i.e. almost half the average global cost of coal. So while the US may be turning it’s back on green technologies, the rest of the world will not. As technology improves to become more reliable and more affordable, sun rich regions, such as India, Africa, Latin America will move towards solar energy. Assuming that energy storage technology continues to improve with the fall in prices, solar power will become highly competitive even after the sun sets.

Wind and Wave Power

Island and coastal nations will start to move towards wind and wave power as already demonstrated by the huge investment in the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon project, which is almost certainly going to proceed – and this is just the beginning. Numerous other sites have already been identified for future developments, just as soon as the concept has been approved.

India and China to Lead the World on Climate Change

India and China are among the top polluters of the world. As the workshop of the world, these two countries are key in thindiae battle against climate change.
China has recently announced that, they would invest at least $361 billion into renewable energy by the year 2020, although they have not confirmed how that money will be spent. We do know that China is investing heavily into battery technology, electrical distribution and photovoltaics. According to International Energy Agency 3.5 million of the current 8 million renewable energy jobs in the world are based in China.
India, is keen to be the world leader in renewable energy. They have already made an unprecedented commitment to produce 175 gigawatts of renewable energy by the year 2022, at the Paris climate conference. To achieve this target India has recently announced an investment of $1.8 billion to enhance solar powered transmission lines. A special green corridor is in the making, which will transmit 20 gigawatts of power. 31 solar parks across 21 states have been created. India has already added around 19 gigawatt of renewable energy to their power supply in past 4 years. In 2015 alone, India invested $10 billion in the renewable sector. By the year 2030 India is also planning a big shift towards electric transportation, moving them from the worlds workshop to the worlds power supply.
If we ignore the environmental and health benefits of clean energy (not that these aren’t important!) and focus instead only on the economic benefits (the things that drive political and business decisions), renewable energies are clearly the future.
So back to the US of A. Is America really going to allow the rest of the world to overtake them on green technologies?