Detail of the painting St Paul's from Blackfriar's Bridge by Clive Head

Discover the buildings of London and you'll discover London.

Information at a Glance

  • Daytime Class
  • Tuesdays 11:00 - 13:00
  • 10 weeks: April to June
  • 2 hours taught time per week
  • Tutor: Michael Paraskos
  • Fees from £105
  • Location: Various around London
Register interest in this course

This class is not taught at Imperial College. Instead we visit a different site in London each week to look at the buildings in the area. Almost all visits will be to the outside of buildings, as we are rarely able to get into buildings in the evening. 

This course will cover the history of British architecture from the thirteenth century until now, using London as our guide.

In London we are fortunate to have examples of different British architectural styles from almost all periods, and especially from the middle ages to the present day. This gives us a unique teaching tool for people who want to learn about the history of British architecture - the buildings themselves.

On this eight-week course we will visit different places around London, looking at the architectural history and styles of different buildings, how they relate to each other and to wider historical architectural, social and cultural movements.

These visits will also allow us to learn the language of architectural history and practice, but the overall approach is to be informative, educational and entertaining. It is an opportunity to discover something of the astonishing developments in British architecture over a period of a thousand years, gain an understanding of the history of buildings in London in particular, and see at first hand some of the most beautiful examples of architecture in the world.

No previous knowledge of art history, architecture or history is necessary, but these are site visits so there will be quite a bit of walking around London’s streets. Also, we cannot guarantee the weather, so do bring an umbrella and wear appropriate clothing if the weather forecast looks bad!

Course Information

Course Programme

Provisional programme - to be updated in due course

  • Introduction - the Earliest English Architecture
  • Temple - Medieval and Tudor
  • Inigo Jones and Greenwich
  • Wren and the New City
  • Somerset House to Waterloo Place
  • Westminster and Whitehall
  • South Kensington and Albertopolis
  • Borough and the Shard

Additional Reading and Credit Information

There is no requirement to undertake specific reading for this course, but if you would like to look in greater depth at the subject the following books are recommended:

  • Nikolaos Pevsner, Pevsner's Architectural Glossary
  • Chris Rogers, How to Read London

No academic credits are available for this course. An attendance certificate is issued only to those who attend at least 80% of the taught sessions.

About Your Tutor

Photograph of Michael Paraskos Dr Michael Paraskos is a very experienced adult education tutor, having taught for over twenty-five years. He holds a Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy, is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and also teaches art history to undergraduate students at the City and Guilds of London Art School.

He is a writer of both fiction and non-fiction and has published very widely on art of this period, as well as reviewing exhibitions and novels for BBC Radio 4’s Front Row and The Spectator magazine. His first novel In Search of Sixpence was published in 2016 and his second, called Rabbitman, was published in 2017.

Further Study

If you have enjoyed this course, why not look at other arts and humanities evening class courses at Imperial College. This includes courses on the history of western art from ancient Greece to the nineteenth century, Understanding Modern and Design, the history of film and cinema and Greek and Roman mythology in art. We also run practical courses in art and photography and creative writing classes, and a growing programme of science based evening classes.

Any Questions?

Questions regarding the content and teaching of the above course should be sent to the course tutor, Dr Michael Paraskos at m.paraskos@imperial.ac.uk