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The ‘spirit of living continuity’? Revisiting the urban vision, methodologies and influence of the Studies in Conservation

Lookup NU author(s): Professor John Pendlebury



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Liverpool University Press, 2019.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


The late-1960s witnessed sustained debate about the prevailing direction of policy towards the existing built environment. Against that background, an initiative launched in 1966 saw small teams of consultants commissioned to prepare analytic and advisory reports on Bath, Chester, Chichester and York. Their reports were belatedly published between February and May 1969. They were intended not just to provide specific information about four cathedral cities but also collectively to act as pilot studies able to indicate more generally the options available to policy-makers. In this paper, we make use of oral testimony, archive sources and contemporary commentaries to identify the origins and purpose of this initiative, discuss the intrinsic visions offered for the different cities, and comment on the methodologies proposed for achieving conservation. The final section provides historiographic commentary on the significance of the Studies in Conservation half-a-century after their publication.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Gold JR, Pendlebury J

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Town Planning Review

Year: 2019

Volume: 90

Issue: 1

Pages: 33-55

Print publication date: 01/01/2019

Online publication date: 01/01/2019

Acceptance date: 08/10/2018

Date deposited: 09/10/2018

ISSN (print): 0041-0020

ISSN (electronic): 1478-341X

Publisher: Liverpool University Press


DOI: 10.3828/tpr.2019.4


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