Electoral reform, liberalism & art funded by Jamaican slave sugar – the Beckfords. Part 1 – Alderman William Beckford (1709-1770)

The early life of William Beckford; the great accumulation of wealth from sugar plantations in Jamaica; his return to England and purchase of Fonthill Estate in Wiltshire in 1745; election as Member of Parliament firstly for Shaftesbuy then latterly as one of the the City of London’s four MPs. Continue reading “Electoral reform, liberalism & art funded by Jamaican slave sugar – the Beckfords. Part 1 – Alderman William Beckford (1709-1770)”

The History of the Hampstead Heath Ponds

London’s early water supply; the London Conduit Act of 1544 empowering the City to make use of the springs on Hampstead Heath; the1692 Act of Parliament creating the Hampstead Water Company; the creation of reservoirs; the artist John Constable painted the Heath many times with ponds appearing in several of his works including “Hampstead Heath with a Rainbow”; an account of the history of swimming in the Ponds; major incidents of flooding in the Heath, including the most serious one in 1975 with details of the effect on the Heath; the start of the “Ponds Project” which will ensure that the risk of dam collapse in the ponds is eliminated. Continue reading “The History of the Hampstead Heath Ponds”

Best of the Old with the Best of the New – The Guildhall Complex and its Relationship with Organisational Change

Changes to the built environment of the Guildhall Complex covering the period from 1884, discussing  the ‘new’ Council Chamber, the Great Hall of Guildhall, the former Art Gallery, North Office Block & West Wing offices, the construction of new Guildhall Art Gallery incorporating the remains of the Roman Amphitheatre; the Guildhall Improvement Project; changes in organisational behaviour with examples given of changes to committee meetings; changing role of Chairman of Policy Committee and that of Chief Commoner. Continue reading “Best of the Old with the Best of the New – The Guildhall Complex and its Relationship with Organisational Change”

The Campaign to save Wanstead Flats from Development

Victorian attempts to develop the Flats leading to a huge demonstration requiring police intervention in 1871; leisure activities in the early 20th century; the Flats requisitioned for military purposes in the Second World War including temporary housing for bombed-out families; West Ham Corporation’s attempts to build permanent housing on the Flats defeated by legal judgement in 1947; subsequent major restoration programme undertaken by the City of London Corporation. Continue reading “The Campaign to save Wanstead Flats from Development”

The Development of the City of London as a representative body

The nature of the City Corporation’s current representative role with regard to the UK’s financial services industry; the reasons behind the development of this role including changes in local government in London with the abolition of the Greater London Council and the changing role of the Bank of England; the establishment of the City Research Project and the Economic Development Office with representative offices in Brussels, Beijing, Shanghai and Mumbai; the creation of “TheCityUK”; review of governance leading to the formal recognition of the City Corporation’s role in the terms of reference of the Policy and Resources Committee. Continue reading “The Development of the City of London as a representative body”

The Hanseatic Steelyard in Dowgate

13th century references to the Hanse merchants; the derivation of the word “Steelyard”; the location of foreign merchants in Dowgate Ward since the late 10th century; special privileges granted by King Henry II & King John; the strict regime observed by the Hanse merchants; trading connections of the merchants; disputes with the City authorities concerning the upkeep of Bishopsgate & other grievances caused by the preferential treatment of the Hanse merchants; the demise of the Steelyard & the sale of the site for building Cannon Street Station. Continue reading “The Hanseatic Steelyard in Dowgate”

The London Stone: from myth and mystery to contemporary planning

Mythological origins of the Stone moving through to Roman times & later references in Stow’s Survey of London, 1603; 17th & 18th century attempts to have it removed due to persistent complaints to the City authorities about its inconvenience; the survival of the Stone despite widespread bombing in the Second World War and its removal from the ruins of the Church of St Swithin to its current location at 111 Cannon Street. Continue reading “The London Stone: from myth and mystery to contemporary planning”