From Festivals to Schools, Cathedrals, and Bomb Sites: The Story of Mid-Century Modernism in Britain


The National Provincial Bank in Plymouth, Southwest England, completed in 1959 and designed by the bank’s architecture department with BC Sherren serving as chief architect. . Image Courtesy of Elain Harwood

The National Provincial Bank in Plymouth, Southwest England, completed in 1959 and designed by the bank’s architecture department with BC Sherren serving as chief architect. . Image Courtesy of Elain Harwood

The term “mid-century modern” conjures up images of a sharp-suited Don Draper, slender teak cabinets, and suave chairs from Scandinavia. That is, at least, one perspective of the design movement and a view more of 1950s-era Manhattan offices than anything else. But in Britain, mid-century modernism manifested as something slightly different, coming in the form of schools, cathedrals, housing, and an era-defining festival, all eloquently described and illustrated by the prolific architectural historian Elain Harwood in Mid-Century Britain: Modern Architecture 1938-1963.

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