Past Events

'The Stuff of Radio: Material and Spatial Cultures of Sound in inter-war England.'

Lecture – Elizabeth Darling

  • 9 March 2016
  • 6:00 – 8:00 pm
  • Lecture Room, Paul Mellon Centre

This paper discusses the work of Serge Chermayeff, Wells Coates and Raymond McGrath, and their work for the BBC at Broadcasting House, London (1932), for which they designed the majority of the studios, and their subsequent work as wireless set designers for the electronics manufacturer, EKCO Ltd (1933 onwards). In so doing, my concern will be to explore how they resolved the challenge that the emergence of the broadcasting and wireless industry in the wake of the Great War created for architects and designers: how to give material form to something as immaterial as sound.

Black and white photograph of a building under construction

Broadcasting House under construction, 1930

All are welcome! However, places are limited, so if you would like to attend please contact our Events Manager, Ella Fleming on [email protected]

The seminar will be followed by a drinks reception.

About the speaker

  • Elizabeth Darling is Reader in Architectural History at Oxford Brookes University, UK. Her work focuses on revisionist histories of modernist cultures in 1920s and 1930s England (Re-forming Britain, Routledge, 2006; Wells Coates, RIBA Publishing, 2012; “‘The Core’: The Centre as a Concept in Twentieth-Century British Planning and Architecture” two-part article, Planning Perspectives, 2022) and on discourses of gender, space and reform between the 1890s and the 1940s (Women and the Making of Built Space, Ashgate, 2006; Women in Architecture 1917–2017, AA Publications, 2017; Suffragette City, Women, Politics, and the Built Environment, Routledge, 2020). Her current research and writing focuses on women urban and social reformers in Edwardian Edinburgh, and on the material and spatial cultures of broadcasting in inter-war England through the lens of the design and form of BBC Broadcasting House and the wireless sets manufactured by EKCO.