Heritage Tour of The Royal Institution

Friday 7th October 2016 @ 16:00

Frank A.J.L. James, Professor of the History of Science, Head of Collections and Heritage at the RI

Guided tour of the Royal Institution seeing where Davy, Faraday, Tyndall and the Braggs made their major scientific discoveries as well as their apparatus including the original miners' safety lamp and the world's first electric transformer.

For more than two hundred years the Royal Institution of Great Britain has been at the centre of scientific research and the popularisation of science in this country. Within its walls some of the major scientific discoveries of the last two centuries have been made.

Chemists and physicists - such as Humphry Davy, Michael Faraday, John Tyndall, James Dewar, Lord Rayleigh, William Henry Bragg, Henry Dale, Eric Rideal, William Lawrence Bragg and George Porter - carried out much of their major research at Ri.

The technological applications of some of this research has transformed the way we live. Furthermore, most of these scientists were first rate communicators who were able to inspire their audiences with an appreciation of science and have the Ri become a major centre for scientific excellence.

The Ri collections include the original apparatus and papers of the remarkable people who have researched, lectured and lived at 21 Albemarle Street. Plus there are important collections of books, scientific instruments, furniture and the Ri's administrative archive from 1799 to the present day.

The heritage tour will be led by Frank A.J.L. James, Professor of the History of Science, Head of Collections and Heritage at the Ri, and Imperial Alumnus. 

Professor James will cover elements of the history and architecture of the building as well as telling the stories behind some of the museum displays.

The itinerary

4PM : Arrival and group welcome

4.10PM : Tour, hosted by Professor James, usually lasting 1½ - 2 hours, commences on the first floor where the displays relate to the theme of communication and, unless it is in use, will include a visit to the historic large lecture theatre where the CHRISTMAS LECTURES® are recorded. The ground floor deals with various aspects of the Royal Institution's activities, past and present, whilst the lower ground floor is devoted to the history of scientific discovery in the building

6PM : Free time to explore the rest of the Ri

6.30PM : Event formally ends.

The group are then invited to a nearby pub in Albermarle Street to round off the event with fellow attendees. The event fee includes a post tour glass of wine and nibbles.

The location and your journey

The Royal Institution,
21 Albemarle Street,

By tube
The closest tube station to the Royal Institution is Green Park on the Jubilee, Victoria and Piccadilly lines. The Royal Institution is a five minute walk from the station. Also within a ten minute walking distance is Piccadilly Circus tube station, on the Piccadilly and Bakerloo lines, or Oxford Circus tube station on the Victoria, Central and Bakerloo lines.

By bus
There are numerous bus stops along Piccadilly which runs along the entrance to Albemarle Street.
Bus numbers: 9, 14, 19, 22 and 38

By car
Travelling to the Ri by car is inadvisable as there is only limited and expensive parking available nearby. Please note that the Ri is located within the Congestion Charging zone.

Venue: Royal Institution, London

Campus Map reference
on the Imperial College London Map