The Hillside Club and the Framing of True Civilization

On Thursday, December 17 the Hillside Club in Berkeley will feature a lecture on “The Hillside Club and the True Meaning of Civilization”, by British cultural historian Nicholas Friend.

Nicholas Friend

Nicholas Friend

Several years ago I started the Hillside Club Round Table to meet once a month to look at and study the original ideals and animating spirit of the Club. The Club was founded in 1898 to provide a gathering place for the people of the developing town, and to ensure such development would be sympathetic with the natural landscape of Berkeley’s beautiful hills. By cultivating a decent life marked by neighborliness and harmony with the land, the Club was to be an effort to instill true civilization at the edge of the continent. Growing out of an earlier Ruskin club and guided chiefly by the architectural ideals of the great Berkeley Arts and Crafts architect Bernard Maybeck, the Hillside Club stands out as an enduring piece of the legacy of the Arts and Crafts Movement. Clubs like this were not uncommon around the US at the turn of the 20th century, but few have survived, and Berkeley’s still-living contribution to the tradition is a noble and important thing.


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British scholar Nicholas Friend of London’s Inscape Cultural Study Society will set the international context of the Club’s ideals before concluding with “an appreciation of the Hillside Club’s role in establishing Berkeley as a fair and revitalizing environment for its citizens, both civilized and civilizing, a role as topical today as it was then.” Print out the pdf flyer for more.

Again, that’s Thursday, December 17. The event begins at 7:30. The Club is located at 2236 Cedar St. in Berkeley. Donations will be accepted at the door.

I very much hope you’ll attend!


A reminder of a second event covered by my recent blog post, “Event—How William Morris Framed Utopia”: Nicholas Friend will join Clive Wilmer on Saturday, December 19 at the First Church of Christ Scientist for “William Morris’s News From Nowhere: A Conversation About How We Might Live.” See the pdf flyer for more.

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