If Brexit is the result of a backward-looking nostalgia, the Swinging London of the Chelsea Set was the opposite: it marked a determination to move on from the devastation and austerity left by World War II.
In 1962 The Westinghouse Corporation made a documentary film exploring the state of the nation as Britain continued to register the aftershocks of war, adjusted to the loss of empire and witnessed the erosion of its status as a world-class industrial nation.
If you can get along to Bethnal Green in the next three weeks, I highly recommend a visit to this exhibition of photographs. They document a dramatic period in the history of the East London.
Lucca, Italy, was the birthplace of Giacomo Puccini in 1858 in an apartment that is now a museum to the last and most famous of generations of Puccini maestros, restored to its Second Empire glory, down to a bed, surrounded by columns, that replicates the one in which Puccini was born.
The Russian architect Berthold Lubetkin once declared “Nothing is too Good for Ordinary People”* and as a founder of the radical Tecton group he designed municipal housing which combined the creation of healthy spaces, where people could live healthy lives, with the expression of his modernist aesthetic.
The museum in Doughty Street, London, has a temporary exhibition to revisit the established view that Dickens had no truck with science, presenting the discipline not so surprisingly as an extension of his concern with social justice and reform rather than abstract theory.
Rambouillet – known for its graceful chateau that is the summer seat of French presidents and the setting for international summits – also has appeal for those seeking a gentler life on the sidelines – or even in the sidings.