From the archive: the monuments of Thatcherism, as seen in 1989

The Iron Lady’s legacy included the Lloyd’s building and cardboard city, the collapse of the coal industry and the right-to-buy policy

As Thatcherism was about to enter its second decade and the Channel Tunnel was being dug there were ‘still more striking manifestations of the last 10 years’ according to the Observer Magazine’s writers (‘Thatcher’s Monuments’, 23 April 1989).

Peter Conrad chose the Lloyd’s building in the City (completed in 1986) – which ‘wearing its profits on its walls, looks more like a giant coffee percolator than the coffee house in which the insurance firm started’ – contrasting it with cardboard city, less than a mile away under the Bullring: ‘Their impromptu shelters seem to imitate the whimsies of Richard Rogers, whose building can afford to joke about its own flimsiness. But on the embankment the joke is sourer.’

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