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Burlington House

Burlington House update - 1 June 2022 


Background

In August 2020, against a background of ever-increasing costs of occupancy of Burlington House, the Geological Society Council decided to join with its Burlington House courtyard neighbours in a campaign of public and political engagement. At the same August 2020 meeting Council also agreed to initiate a project to investigate the options available to the Society should it need to relocate from Burlington House.

Burlington House campaign

Between February 2021 to March 2022 the Geological Society joined the Society of Antiquaries, Linnean Society of London, and the Royal Astronomical Society in a campaign of public and political engagement. The objective of the campaign was to raise awareness of the acute problems facing the societies due to ever-increasing rental costs.

The campaign resulted in over one hundred letters of support being sent to MPs from Geological Society Fellows and supporters. Fellows of the other societies involved in the campaign responded with similar enthusiasm. Sir David Attenborough, an Honorary Fellow of the Geological Society, Society of Antiquaries, and Linnean Society, wrote a personal letter to the Prime Minister. The eminent astronomer and broadcaster Brian Cox also appeared on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme in support of the societies’ position.

Growing interest in the fate of the Societies’ future at Burlington House led to a Parliamentary debate on the subject in June 2021. You can listen here (from 16.50) or read the transcript here. Multiple national and trade publications have also covered the situation, including The Times, The Guardian, The Telegraph and BBC News with many also spreading the word on social media.

Despite the great interest and support, the campaign produced no significant change of approach on the part of the landlord that would enable an affordable, long-term future for the Society at Burlington House. The Geological Society’s Council therefore agreed in February 2022 to discontinue its funding of the campaign with effect from the end of March.

Options available to the Geological Society

In August 2020, Council agreed to instigate a project to look into the options available to the Society should it need to relocate from Burlington House. The project team, led by past-President David Shilston, met for the first time in early February 2021 and presented its final report to Council in February 2022. A summary version of the report can be found here. The report was received by Council in February 2022, and its conclusions and recommendations accepted in full.

In August 2021, the Society commissioned a feasibility study to investigate the possibility of remaining within a reduced footprint at its current premises at Burlington House. The study was carried out by David Kohn Architects, and is available here.

Fellowship webinar, 19 May 2022

It proved impossible to answer all the live questions that were asked during the webinar. Answers to those questions that were unanswered can be found here, and the slide pack presented on the day can be obtained here.

Fellows unable to join the webinar on the day may request access to the recording by contacting burlingtonhouse@geolsoc.org.uk.

Previously published background information

Download the document 'Burlington House Apartments: Lease History and Status. 2021', as referred to in the letter sent by President Michael Daly on January 29th to all Fellows and Friends.