‘Conservation – Legacy and Innovation’ conference

Four sessions that covered a wealth of ideas.

 Lewisham College, Lewisham Way, SE4 1UT 

Saturday 21 October 2023

Free and open to all


Brockley Conservation Area was designated by Lewisham Council in September 1973. (see ‘Background’ section below for more details).

2023 therefore marks the 50th anniversary of this landmark.

The Conservation – Legacy and Innovation’ conference (see flyer, right) builds on the foundations of our previous Design and Innovation Conference held in 2017. Explore the full Agenda in the section below.

Providing a wealth of information for those interested in the role conservation areas play in safeguarding designated urban environments during challenging times, the conference examines how the area has evolved during its first 50 years, and the priorities and challenges it faces in the future.

A range of perspectives was explored over four sessions considering all aspects of the local environment: buildings, trees, green spaces and the public realm.

Explore the full Agenda in the section below. You can also read a further detailed reports of all four sessions in our November 2023 newsletter.



Opening Video:

Ex-Lewisham councillor and architectural journalist Nicholas Taylor opened the conference by explaining the background to the Brockley Conservation Area.

Gallery of photos taken in 1972

In 1972, founder Brockley Society chair John Moreland took a set of over 250 black & white photos of the area.

Click on the image to the right or view them on our dedicated Gallery page.




Gallery of conference photos


Councillor Stephen Penfold (Brockley Ward & Housing Select Committee Chair) opened the conference, which began with:


Session 1: How We Got Here

Clare CowenChair of Brockley Society.  Welcome and opening remarks.

Nicholas Taylor The campaign for the conservation movement nationally and its implementation in Lewisham. See video above. Nicholas Taylor’s 1973 book The Village in the City played an important role nationally in the discussions which underlay the campaign for conservation: rehabilitation not demolition. His role as a councillor was also vital in setting up Lewisham’s conservation areas, specifically in Brockley. www.brockleysociety.org.uk/shop

John Moreland The campaign to establish a conservation area in Brockley. First chair of Brockley Society. In 1972-3 John photographed nearly 300 Victorian houses in the campaign to designate Brockley Conservation Area. www.johnmoreland.co.uk /landscapeurbandesign

Gillian Heywood MBEProtecting the Brockley Conservation Area once designated. President of Brockley Society. Gillian was involved in battles to protect the conservation area against unwanted developments as well as government, London and local policies threatening it.


Session 2: Achievements & Exemplar Projects

Robert BarkerStolon Studio. The Rusty House, 18 Ashby Road, SE4 1PX. www.stolon.co.uk

Harriet Saddington – Harriet Saddington Ltd. 69c Tressillian Road Extension, SE4 1YA. www.linkedin.com/in/harriet-saddington-4032b883. X/Twitter: @harrisaddington

Hannah Campbell – Hannah Campbell Design. 1836 Coach House . www.hannahcampbelldesign.co.uk

Rhys Cannon – Gruff Architects. 8a Tyrwhitt Road, SE4 1QG. http://gruffarchitects.com


Session 3: Current Concerns

Jens Cole – DC Design / Brockley Society’s planning group. Energy Efficiency & Heritage Conservation. [email protected]

David John – Historic England / Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings. Heritage at risk and the future – a personal view. www.historicengland.org.uk     www.spab.org.uk   

Robert Prewett – Prewett Bizley. Retrofit / Passivhaus Case Studies. www.prewettbizley.com

Anna-Maria Cahalane – Co-founder, Fourth Reserve Foundation. Brockley Green and Gorne Wood – how history played a part in protection from development. https://fourthreserve.org/


Session 4: Community Involvement – Ways Forward

Nick Patton – Blackheath Society, Trustee/Management Committee. The challenge of large developments beyond the CA boundaries. www.blackheath.org

Malcolm Bacchus – Chair, Telegraph Hill Society. The changing face of community involvement: a reflection. www.telegraphhillsociety.co.uk. X/Twitter: @MalcolmBacchus

Annabel McLaren – Outgoing Chair of Sydenham Society. Sydenham town centre – 10 years since the Portas Pilot. www.sydenhamsociety.com. X/Twitter: @SydenhamSociety

Paul Thornton – Vice Chair, London Forum of Amenity and Civic Societies. A London-wide perspective. www.londonforum.org.uk. X/Twitter:  @London_Forum

Clare Cowen – Chair of Brockley Society. Closing remarks

Background to the conference

The Brockley Conservation Area was first designated in 1973. In 2005 Lewisham Council produced a ‘Character Appraisal’ of the Brockley Conservation Area. This fascinating and informative resource describes and assesses both the history and the built environment of the area. It provides a clear rationale for having made the designation, and the ongoing efforts to preserve the character of the area.

You can view and download the 3 parts of the document here:

Also, in 2007 a ‘Supplementary Planning Document’ was published which summarised the requirements of any structural property redevelopment within the area.