Refreshments, Full disabled access, Toilets, Partial disabled access
Originally built between 1886-1889 as a joint Examination Hall for the Royal College of Physicians & Royal College of Surgeons, the building was renovated in 1909 for the Institution creating a spectacular 20C interior. £30m refurb in 2015
Stephen Salter and H Percy Adams,
Pringle Richards Sharratt Architects,
The building now occupied by the The Institution of Engineering and Technology was originally built as a joint Examination Hall for the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Surgeons, completed in 1889 and designed to accommodate 600 candidates. The foundation stone, which can be seen at the front of the building, was laid by Queen Victoria on 24 March 1886. It was further adapted in May 1887 to build classrooms, laboratories and a lecture theatre.
On 1 June 1909 the Institution purchased the remaining seventy-six years of the ninety-nine year lease, held by the Duchy of Lancaster by the Royal Colleges of Physicians and Surgeons.
The Institution had been founded over 15 years before, in 1871, as the Society of Telegraph Engineers. As the application of electrical engineering spread beyond telegraphy to power, lighting and other areas, the name was changed to the Institution of Electrical Engineers.
It was granted a Royal Charter in 1921. By the early 1900s the Institution had over five thousand members and was collecting funds for the purchase of its own building. It was impressed by the Examination Hall, the President stating 'there is no finer site in London'.
The 1909 alterations, carried out by H Percy Adams and Charles Holden, included renovation of the entrance hall, the lecture theatre and the creation of a library from the long room on the first floor. The entrance hall was lined with white marble and decorated with bronze friezes. The lecture theatre was panelled in Cuban mahogany, matching the interior doors on the ground floor, with carved cartouches designed by the sculptor W S Frith.
The original work can still be seen today, although both rooms have been adapted for modern use. In the late 1950s, Adams Holden and Pearson altered the façade and added the top storey and entrance. More information is available on the individual rooms in Savoy Place.
Savoy Hill House
Behind Savoy Place is the building originally known as Lancaster House, later Savoy Mansions. It was built in 1880 by the Savoy Building Company and had a number of occupants: it housed ale and stout merchants, the National Providence League, architects, solicitors and in 1884 Turkish baths were licensed in the basement.
In 1923, the newly formed British Broadcasting Company was offered spare accommodation at Savoy Place for its broadcasts. It began leasing seven rooms and quickly expanded, taking over the West Wing by the end of the year. The BBC renamed the latter building Savoy Hill and '2LO' broadcast from there until 1932. Savoy Hill was bought by the Institution in 1984 and is now known as Savoy Hill House.
Savoy Place today
2013 saw the start of major refurbishment to make the building more flexible, to adapt to changing technology, improve sustainability, promote accessibility and make the most of the stunning riverside views.
The building re-opened in 2015 after a £30 million refurbishment; transformed from top to bottom the venue now offers cutting edge technology, inspiring event spaces and London’s newest roof terrace.
Most of Savoy Place is now dedicated to conference facilities and member activities. The Institution has over 150,000 members and much of its administrative staff is based at Michael Faraday House, a purpose-built office in Stevenage.
Visitors are welcome to look round the building and attend the Institution's public lectures. The land is still owned by the present Duke of Lancaster, the Queen, who is also the Patron of the IET.