The Pevsner Architectural Guides in the 21st Century

Join the The Victorian Society for its new series of seven online talks The Pevsner Architectural Guides in the 21st Century given by the highly accomplished and authoritative Pevsner authors themselves

Photo: The Art Historian. Nikolaus Pevsner Photo Credit: The Victorian Society.

Photo: The Art Historian Nikolaus Pevsner. Photo Credit: The Victorian Society.

Pevsner’s guides have played a huge role in the appreciation of architectural history, as companions to the tourist, and as a vital tool to architects, conservation officers and researchers. These talks celebrate Pevsner’s influence, achievement, and legacy, and give an opportunity to discover new corners of the UK and Ireland.

The talks are introduced by Pevsner series Editors Simon Bradley and Charles O’Brien who have masterminded a 10-year project of updating the much-loved old Pevsner volumes and creating new ones for Wales, Scotland, Ireland, and the Isle of Man. The Victorian Society has an exceptionally strong link with Sir Nikolaus Pevsner – one of the Society’s 32 founders that also included poet Sir John Betjeman.

The seven talks run 24th January – 8th March 2023 but include a recording that can be watched any time.

SPECIAL OFFER: Buy one ticket (£36) and get 7 talks for the price of 6! Each talk is recorded and will be sent to attendees to watch at a time that suits them. Book the special offer here Online Talks: The Pevsner Architectural Guides | Eventbrite

Tickets are available to book now on Eventbrite.

A summary of each of the talks is below:

Discovering Victorian Durham by Martin Roberts

Tue 24 January, 7 pm – 8:30 pm or watch a recording any time

‘The county of Durham is one of the least-known parts of England’. So began Nikolaus Pevsner’s Introduction to his 1953 Buildings of England volume. Everyone knows Durham Cathedral but much of the rest of the county’s buildings remain unknown beyond its borders. With this sense of discovery the talk explores the county’s 19th and early 20h century architectural legacy. Its churches, public buildings and industrial monuments – the work of nationally acclaimed architects and inventive regional designers. Martin Roberts has lived in the North East for over fifty years. On qualifying as an architect, he specialised in conservation, spending many years as Durham City’s Conservation Officer, later becoming the Historic Buildings Inspector for English Heritage in the North East. He is a trustee of the Friends of Old Durham Gardens, a restoration project he initiated and managed. He has completed a revision of Nikolaus Pevsner’s Buildings of England volume on County Durham.

Ticket Price: £6 Book Now

Finding Wales: Taking the Pevsner Series into Wales by Robert Scourfield

Tue 31 January, 7 pm – 8:30 pm or watch a recording any time

Robert Scourfield talks about the Victorian and Edwardian buildings of Powys, for which he was the revising author of Richard Haslam’s original Buildings of Wales volume of 1979. Prior to that, Rob was the co-author of the two south-west Welsh volumes – his home territory as a native Pembrokeshire man. Rob is the Buildings Conservation Officer for the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.

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What did the Victorians ever do for Cork? by Frank Keohane

Wed 8 February, 7 pm – 8:30 pm or watch a recording any time

A sweeping introduction to the buildings of Victorian Cork, exploring how essentially provincial architects responded to emerging architectural themes while revelling in the opportunities offered by its varied local building materials. Frank Keohane is an architectural historian and chartered building surveyor specialising in the conservation of historic buildings. A native of Cork, he is the author of The Buildings of Ireland Cork volume, published by Yale University Press in 2020 and Irish Period Houses: A Conservation Guidance Manual, published in 2016.

Ticket Price: £6Book Now

‘Deservedly and Universally Liked and Respected’: The Local Architects of the Black Country 1870 to 1914 by Andy Foster

Wed 15 February, 7 pm – 8:30 pm or watch a recording any time

In the later Victorian and Edwardian period, the industrial towns, and villages of the Black Country experienced rapid civic development. Town halls, schools, libraries, and police buildings were built, together with houses for industrialists and the beginning of social housing. Architects appeared in local communities to design these buildings. Some of them were significant local figures, serving as councillors and even mayors. This is an introduction to the Black Country’s earliest local architects, from the Gothic Revival to the Arts and Crafts Free Style. Andy Foster is a building historian who was born, and lives, in Birmingham. As a child he spent time with an aunt at Blackheath in the Black Country. He is the author of Birmingham and the Black Country in the Pevsner Architectural Guides series, published in 2022.

Ticket Price: £6 Book Now

Revising Pevsner – the North Riding of Yorkshire by Jane Greville

Tue 21 February, 7 pm – 8:30 pm or watch a recording any time

Pevsner loved the North Riding: the buildings, the scenery, the people (it is the volume that is famously dedicated to ‘those publicans and hoteliers…who provide me with a table … to scribble on’). Jane Greville has been revising the North Riding volume of The Buildings of England.With two national parks, a fine selection of castles, abbeys, parish churches and country houses it has been a feast of material. This talk covers Pevsner’s background and that of the Buildings of England series before giving an account of the work of the past six years. Jane Grenville’s early career was as a digging archaeologist. She has worked in architectural history and conservation. In 1991 she joined the Archaeology Department at the University of York, where she developed the MA in the Archaeology of Buildings and for several years led the MA in Conservation Studies (Historic Buildings). She retired as Deputy Vice-Chancellor in 2015. In retirement she has returned to her listing patch to revise Pevsner’s North Riding volume.

Ticket Price: £6 Book Now

The Victorian Architecture of the Isle of Man by Jonathan Kewley

Tue 28 February, 7 pm – 8:30 pm or watch a recording any time

The Isle of Man is not part of either England, Scotland, Ireland or Wales, but has been influenced by all of them. It started Queen Victoria’s reign as a haven for genteel half pay officers; it ended it as a holiday resort for Lancashire millworkers and a centre of zinc mining. In between it welcomed works by architects as diverse as J L Pearson, M H Baillie Scott, Basil Champneys and Frank Matcham. This talk, by the author of the new Pevsner for the Island, gives an overview of its Victorian buildings, from churches and chapels to boarding houses and country seats. Highlights include an early factory village, the world’s largest waterwheel and an introduction to a number of local architects. Dr Jonathan Kewley is of Manx descent and has known the Island all his life. He read history at Oxford and now works for Historic England as an architectural historian. He is the author of the new Buildings of the Isle of Man in the Pevsner series.

Ticket Price: £6 Book Now

Completing the Buildings of Scotland series with a revised Lothian by Jane Geddes & Charles O’Brien

Wed 8 March, 7 pm – 8:30 pm or watch a recording any time

After 45 years, the Buildings of Scotland series is winding up with a revised edition of its first volume, Lothian. The editor Charles O’Brien reviews the journey getting there. Jane Geddes, co-author of the new edition, looks first at the experience of surveying a county under lockdown and then at additions to entries for the 19th century which now includes more of the industrial and landscape heritage as well as some newly discovered gems. Charles O’Brien has been editor of Buildings of Scotland for Yale University Press since 1999 and is co-author of several of the Pevsner Architectural guides. Jane Geddes is Professor emerita from Aberdeen University. She began as Inspector of Ancient Monuments for English Heritage, where The Grange, Northington was a key project. She has written the RIAS guide for Kincardine and Deeside and collaborated on the Pevsner volumes for Aberdeenshire.

Ticket Price: £6 Book Now

Notes for Editors:

• Sir Nikolaus Pevsner CBE FBA (30 January 1902 – 18 August 1983) was an architectural historian. He was born in Leipzig in Germany. He lost his post at Göttingen University during Hitler’s ascent to power and came to Britain in 1933. His books Pioneers of Modern Design (1936) and An Outline of European Architecture (1942) established his influence in the UK and helped to stimulate public interest in architecture and art. He taught at Birkbeck College (University of London) and was Slade Professor of Fine Art at Cambridge (1949-1955). He was on the editorial board of the Architectural Review, and in 1955 gave the Reith lectures on the ‘Englishness of English Art’. The Buildings of England (46 volumes, 1951-74) are his lasting, revered legacy. He was described variously as Editor-in-Chief, Founding Editor and Editorial Adviser for the series. The 46 volumes of the original Buildings of England were conceived as a portable guide to architecture both for the amateur and the expert. The series was extended to Scotland, Wales and Ireland in the late 1970s.

• The Victorian Society was founded in 1957 by 32 like-minded individuals, including Sir John Betjeman CBE and Nikolaus Pevsner.

We are the only charity dedicated to fighting to protect our Victorian and Edwardian heritage.

•We help tackle the climate emergency by campaigning for the sensitive reuse of historic buildings to generate much lower carbon emissions than demolition and rebuild.

For more information, please contact Marie Clements (Media and Communications Manager) at The Victorian Society on 020 8747 5897 or email [email protected]



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