Anthea Streeter studied the Fine and Decorative Arts in London and continued her studies at Harvard University. It was while at Harvard, where there was great enthusiasm for American design, that she became interested herself in 20th century architecture. Since returning from America she has taught on courses in Oxford and London, and given lectures around the country. She has a special interest in the architecture and design of 20th century.
This lecture is divided into two parts looking principally at the changes to the famous City of London skyline viewed from across the Thames. The first part gives a thumbnail sketch of how the City grew upwards from the great fire of 1666 to the late 19th Century, noting how the medieval cathedral of St. Paul’s towered over 100 parish churches. In the second section we note how the growing scale of buildings at the turn of the 20th century was limited in height by restrictions based on how high a fireman’s ladder could reach, 100ft., and the challenge this presented to architects, the change to the skyline because of wartime damage. Of course we now have such buildings as the Nat West Tower, the Gherkin, the Shard, the Cheesegrater and the Walkie-Talkie.