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World Art Deco Day presented by Elain Harwood

28/04/2021 6:30 pm | Online

To celebrate World Art Deco Day, the Twentieth Century Society has teamed up with architecture historian Elain Harwood, who will give a talk about this most fantastic of styles. Based on her book Art Deco Britain (Batsford), Elain will take you on a tour of cinemas, seaside buildings, factories and other Art Deco buildings in Britain.

What Elain finds most fascinating about Art Deco is that so many of the finest buildings were for ordinary people, bringing style to cinemas, swimming pools and public buildings. So while Claridges and the Savoy will be in there, so too will the Carlton, Essex Road and Granada, Tooting cinemas, swimming pools in Northampton and lidos in Penzance and Plymouth. The talk will look at the origins of the eclectic Art Deco style of the 1920s, and also include examples of the calmer, more sophisticated modern style that superseded it in the 1930s.



The perennially popular style of Art Deco-influenced architecture and design all over the world in the 1920s and 1930s – from elegant Parisian theatres to glamorous Manhattan skyscrapers. The style was also adopted by British architects, but, until now, there has been little that really explains the what, where and how of Art Deco buildings in Britain. In Art Deco Britain, leading architecture historian and writer Elain Harwood brings her trademark clarity and enthusiasm to the subject as she explores Britain’s Art Deco buildings.

Art Deco Britain, published in association with the Twentieth Century Society, is the definitive guide to the architectural style in Britain. The book begins with an overview of the international Art Deco style, and how this influenced building design in Britain. The buildings covered include Houses and Flats; Churches and Public Buildings; Offices; Hotels and Public Houses; Cinemas, Theatres and Concert Halls; and many more.

The book covers some of the best-loved and some lesser-known buildings around the UK, such as the Midland Hotel in Morecambe, Eltham Palace, Broadcasting House and the Carreras Cigarette Factory in London. Beautifully produced and richly illustrated with architectural photography, this is the definitive guide to a much-loved architecture style.


Elain Harwood is the historian at English Heritage responsible for its post-war research and listing programme. Her publications on the subject include England’s Post-war Listed Buildings and Space, Hope and Brutalism: English Architecture 1945–1975 and many articles for Twentieth-Century Architecture, the journal of the Twentieth-Century Society.

When: Wednesday 28th April, 6.30pm
£3 for Twentieth Century Society members, £5 for non-members

Photograph: Elain Harwood