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Burlington House

Since 1874, Burlington House has been home to the Geological Society, the Linnean Society, the Society of Antiquaries, the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Royal Astronomical Society, and the Royal Academy of Arts, as a meeting place for the arts and sciences.

The original Burlington House was built on the present site of the Royal Academy c.1670 by Sir John Denham for Richard Boyle, 1st Earl of Burlington, 2nd Earl of Cork and Baron Clifford of Londesborough in Yorkshire. 

At this time the site of the Society's apartments was occupied by stables that extended from Burlington House to a wall along the Piccadilly frontage. The building was reconstructed c.1731 in Palladian style by the 3rd Earl of Burlington. Subsequently the building passed to the Cavendish family until it was purchased in 1854 by the Government to house The Royal Academy of Arts, The Royal Society and other learned societies. 

Additional accommodation was provided in the West and East wings and gateway blocks enclosing The Royal Academy's courtyard, which were completed to the designs of the architects Charles Barry and R R Banks between 1869 and 1873. The exterior of the building is of Portland Stone (Upper Jurassic). From 1860 occasional meetings of the Geological Society were held in Old Burlington House and in 1874 the Society moved to its present apartments. 

"The Council have to congratulate the Fellows upon their being at length in possession of the handsome accommodation provided for them by the liberality of the Government..." 

(Report of the Council for 1874, Quarterly Geological Journal, 1875, p vi)

In 1911 the Society's mineral and fossil collections, which occupied the present Upper Library, were transferred to the Geological Museum and British Museum (Natural History) at South Kensington. The removal of The Royal Society to Carlton House Terrace (1967) allowed some expansion of the Society's apartments. The old Meeting Room was reconstructed to form the present Lecture Theatre in 1973.

Find out about the other societies in Burlington House:

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A cultural hub for the arts and sciences

Burlington House

Since 1874, Burlington House has been home to five learned societies and the Royal Academy of Arts. Our continuing programme of public events and activities provides access to our exciting scientific and artistic output.

Library Events

Library events

The Library holds regular public events focusing on items from the collection