25, Exhibition Road and Imperial College Road, London S.W.7.


“The complex history of the development of the Museums Quarter of South Kensington from the 1860s to the 1970s is described in detail in the relevant volume of The Survey of London (Volume XXXVIII, The Museums Area of South Kensington and Westminster, ed. F.H.W. Sheppard, GLC, 1978). Whilst the development of the museums – The Natural History Museum, The Victoria and Albert Museum, The Science Museum and The Geological Museum, the academic institutions – The Royal College of Science, The Royal School of Mines, The Royal School of Needlework, The City and Guilds College, The Royal College of Music, The Royal College of Art and Imperial College of Science and Technology, and the other cultural institutions – The Royal Albert Hall and The Imperial Institute, is covered in detail, comparatively little is written about the development of the former Post Office, Royal Mail Sorting Office and Meteorological Office, located at the corner of Exhibition Road and Imperial College Road (formerly Imperial Institute Road):

‘The grip of Whitehall on South Kensington was not being very favourably exemplified on the site on the south side of Imperial Institute Road bought for a science museum in 1890. For a while the Tate collection was incongruously in prospect there and in the early 1900s the big new Royal College of Science (1900-1906) was placed upon it in company with a Post Office (presumably as a ‘scientific’ building by virtue of the meteorological office upstairs)…. ‘The Post Office (1908-10) was designed for the Office of Works…. The design of the Post Office was intended to be related to present and future buildings nearby, and this period saw a reawakened sense of the opportunities for visual planning on the Commissioners’ estate – opportunities, that is, that had for the most part been recently thrown away…..To make matters worse, in 1905 the south corner site in Imperial Institute and Exhibition Roads was rather casually appropriated for a Post Office and meteorological office (Built in 1908-1910, ostensibly to designs by the Office of Works’ architect Sir Henry Tanner although Fairfax Wade, architect of the Royal School of Needlework opposite it, is thought by his family to have been involved’

(Survey, pp. 71, 72 and p. 253)…”

From a feature on 1.8.16. by Kate Magee, writing at campaignlive.co.uk:

“…Sir John Hegarty, founder of Bartle Bogle Hegarty, says: “If you look at the number of people who went to art school, it’s just amazing – right down to [Sir James] Dyson. Out of that atmosphere of challenging thinking came this fantastic industry.” He adds: “If our future is thinking creatively, then surely we should be teaching that in schools.” “

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