Exhibition Preview: Saving A Century – The Victorian Society

The Victorian Society has been championing Victorian and Edwardian buildings for more than 50 years and photos from their archives form the basis of the exhibition, Saving a Century, now open at the Kew Bridge Steam Museum.

The exhibition charts the development of the Society, starting with remembering some great Victorian buildings lost before its foundation (e.g. Crystal Palace) and documenting some of its most famous campaigns — the bitter battle for the doomed Euston Arch, the loss of the Coal Exchange, the saving of the Barlow train shed at St Pancras and the protection of Whitehall, including the preservation of George Gilbert Scott’s Foreign Office building.

The display also gives a photographic survey of places of worship, railway buildings, domestic architecture, industrial buildings, public institutions and country houses cared about and fought for by the society.

As Dr Ian Dungavell, Director of the Victorian Society quite rightly notes, ‘Without these campaigns, many of our most famous places would look very different today. The exhibition is a testament to the energy and vision of the early members of the Victorian Society as well as a sobering reminder of the way that public opinion and tastes change.’

Saving a Century is on show at Kew Bridge Steam Museum, Green Dragon Lane, Brentford, TW8 0EN. Open Tuesday to Sunday 11am to 4pm, until 19 February. Admission to the museum is £10 but that gets you an annual ticket to return whenever you wish.

The Kew Bridge Steam Museum is one of our top 10 things to do in the Borough of Hounslow. See what else you can do around there when you visit.

Got a taste for Victoriana? Join the Victorian Society and start reading the Dictionary of Victorian London.

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