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London's 'newest' cultural campus

Last Updated on Sunday, 01 December 2013 20:49
Published on Tuesday, 19 September 2006 00:00
   Burlington_House.jpgLord Sainsbury and Sir David Attenborough  preside at the 're-branding' of Burlington House.

At a reception on 18 September 2006 they launched a new period of collaboration and public engagement between the Learned Societies that have occupied Burlington House for almost 150 years.

The Royal Academy of Arts, Society of Antiquaries, Geological Society, Royal Astronomical Society, Royal Society of Chemistry and Linnean Society form an ‘oasis of learning’ in the centre of London. By cooperating in joint ventures they intend to broaden their activities aimed at the general public.

Although the Royal Academy of Arts has always been secure in its building, the other Learned Societies, who were given theirs under terms that were never clearly set out, have only recently resolved the situation and can enjoy a new-found period of growth and stability free from planning blight.

Burlington House dates from 1664. It is the only surviving town palace on Piccadilly built after the Restoration.  In 1854 the site was purchased by the government. Burlington’s cour d’honneur achieved its present form in 1873, when Banks and Barry completed the surrounding buildings in an Italian Renaissance style for Britain’s Learned Societies.   Conceived as a university quadrangle, where arts and sciences interact, the courtyard functions as entrance and as public space. 

Click here to take a virtual tour of the Royal Astronomical Society's apartments in Burlington House