Bedford Park Society's Annual Betjeman Lecture

Dr Mervyn Miller's talk is entitled 'Spirit of Place in Letchworth Garden City'


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Garden City expert Dr Mervyn Miller will be giving the Bedford Park Society’s annual Betjeman lecture on 12 December at the Arts Educational Schools Theatre. Entitled Spirit of Place in Letchworth Garden City, his talk will be illustrated by historic and contemporary images.

Dr Miller will concentrate on the foundation of Letchworth, the first garden city, in 1903 – a generation after Bedford Park was developed.

Dr Mervyn Miller

Dr Mervyn Miller

Letchworth soon attracted visitors to its Arts and Crafts cottages, which set housing standards for the 20th century. They were also eager to see the residents whose “louche” lifestyle was based on Theosophy and vegetarianism.

Yet when John Betjeman, the Society’s first patron, visited Letchworth he mused on “the deep depression of this bright hygienic hell.”

Architect, town planner and historian, Dr Miller is currently writing a book on the life and work of Barry Parker, co-creator of Letchworth Garden City with his partner in practice, Raymond Unwin. The book is due to be published in 2017 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Parker’s birth.

Dr Miller has written several books and was appointed a Visiting Fellow at Oxford Brookes University in 1997. Qualifying as an architect in the 1960s, he studied urban planning in the United States.

Dr Miller said: “Garden cities have been revived and Barry Parker was one of their prime architect-planners, though still undervalued.”

Tickets, price £10, are on sale at PostMark, 53 Turnham Green Terrace, W4 1RP. It is best to buy in advance as these previous lectures have been sell-outs so there may not be tickets available on the night. The theatre bar will be open from 7.00pm, and the lecture begins at 8.15pm.

Profits from the Betjeman lectures go to the Cure Parkinson’s Trust as Sir John suffered from this disease.


November 19, 2016

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