About Us

We need to Save 21 Albemarle Street and Save the Royal Institution !

A campaign action group has been set-up by Mary R. Crumpton (née Perkins) and Prof. Sir Harry Kroto, to bring together all those that support these aims.

This website is to promote its activities and to update people with news and developments along the way.

It is edited by Mary R. Crumpton, founder of the Save21AlbemarleStreet campaign group.

Contact details:

Email: Save21AlbemarleStreet@gmail.com

Website: http://www.Save21AlbemarleStreet.com

Facebook group: http://www.facebook.com/groups/save21albemarlestreet

Follow the campaign on Twitter: @Save21Albemarle

Harry and Mary are on Twitter individually, as: @HarryKroto and @MaryRCrumpton

Or you can telephone/text Mary on: 07751 696 055 between the hours of 10am and 10pm (bear in mind that since Mary works from home the phone won’t be answered if she is with a client or in a meeting, but you can of course leave a message).

14 Responses to About Us

  1. The three pronged approach is a good one. The following suggestions will I hope help in fleshing it out.
    First, as a scientific “monument”, the site has true authenticity of place and of fabric. The lecture theatre in particular has a lineage unparallelled in the world of science. It’s a wonderful place to give a lecture. So well worth conserving with a modern profile of uses.
    Second, I wonder whether a use as an archive centre for historical research on (UK) science and technology could be generated? Anyone doing historical research on chemical technologies of the last century knows that tracking down records of companies and individuals is to enter a fragmented and patchy world of incomplete and misplaced records. Could the future of the RI be linked to a major project to put the entire record of UK science and technology onto a firm footing?
    Third, the development of a centre for science “communication” would I suggest have to be done in conjunction with the many many organisations now working in this area. One of the problems with the plan initiated a few years ago was the attempt to create an independent programme.

    I hope to find ways of contributing more help as the rescue mission develops

    Chris Adams
    Formerly Director of Institute of Applied Catalysis
    Visiting Professor Cardiff University

  2. Professor Peter Sarre says:

    To make Britain the best place in the world to do science we must build on the successes of scientific giants such as Michael Faraday to inspire the next generation of young scientists in the UK and worldwide. The RI is iconic. It cannot be allowed to disappear. I add my full support to the
    campaign to save the RI.

    Peter Sarre, Professor of Chemistry & Molecular Astrophysics, The University of Nottingham

  3. It would be vandalism of the worst kind to loose the RI and 21 Albemarle Street. One of my key motivations for taking up a career in Engineering and Science was attending the wonderful Christmas Lectures as a boy in the early 1960s – I remember Sir Lawrence Bragg on X-Ray Crystallography with particular affection…

  4. Prof Em Peter Cobbold says:

    (email to vendors from someone overseas).

    Gee, £60mill ! – seems a bit pricey. Wiki says its the building in which ten elements were discovered and where the first electricity generator was invented. But its not antique by UK standards, I’ve bid on older. OK its been on telly quite a lot, so its quite well known, give yout that. That old wooden theatre thingy, with the desk at the front….: its not protected is it? You brits seem to slap protection on any old building. My client sees a waterfall atrium in there.

    PS what’s an ‘element’? Are they important, are they still there, and are they included in the deal?
    PPS has that generator been made safe? no asbestos?

  5. xtaldave says:

    Whilst I support your goals, and think that in an ideal world, 21 Albemalre St should remain the home of the Ri – I do not think that the government should (or for that matter would) stump up £60m for the Ri.

    If it were owned by the government, the Ri loses it’s political independence. In addition to this I believe that asking for £60m during times of recession and severe austerity to save *any* building would be a massive PR blunder for UK science.

    • trueriver says:

      hi, I largely agree with xtaldave: and would add that I would hate to see £60M taken from any science research project to save the building.
      So, no, not the government, please.
      It seems to me that the appropriate people to be long term curators of the building are the National Trust: whose remit is to look after land and buildings that are part of or heritage.
      The RI do an excellent job of promoting science; they have shown over the last ten years that they are not so experienced at maintaining and refurbishing their building economically. Leave them to do what they are good at and bring in the NT to do what they are good at.

  6. Prof Em Peter Cobbold says:

    This building is so important by virtue of its early history – Davy, Faraday – that it deserves a level of protection that has global status. Nothing less than UNESCO World Heritage Site status will suffice. The WH committee can be emailed here:

    http://whc.unesco.org/en/danger/

    The only site in the UK they report as being under threat is the Liverpool Maritime Mercantile City.
    Now I have my loyalties to Liverpool, but the discoveries made in the RI building has had global impact on a scale that vastly exceeds that city’s docks.

  7. Markus Petz says:

    Good luck with this saving attempt. But I A help thinking in central London if some other models might be good. That is A: Welcome Trust buy it and use the building; B: Science Museum buy it and also do events and exhibitions in the location; A University takes it over and can then combine public science access and also use it for university business.
    Maybe there are some other options too – quite why this organization should get 60 million is not so clear. Even though I do want the building saved and support science, as a scientist I do not want to see my cultural heritage lost nor privatized, BUT I want to see things run in an open way successful way and cannot help thinking of other places that manage to do this, like Bletchley Park, the National Trust Properties and English Heritage or private firms like Madam Tussauds and feel they should be consulted in developing any viable plan.

  8. As a Life-member of the RI and from my own experiences over the last fifteen years, I am saddenned, but not at all surprised by this recent development.
    It is a reflection of a sad tale of missed opportunities, of contemporary management, media and entrepreneurial practices, and the lack of any genuine overt enthusiasm for science by staff, from reception onwards.

    Oh for the days of Lawrence Bragg, George Porter, Mr Coates and an enthusiastic librarian
    - days when those in charge were accessible and honoured their appointments, or genuinely apologised if not;
    - days when the Director of Research was in the building or left a competent representative when not;
    - days when there was a wealth of creativity in-house full-time, and not part-time, or contracted out;
    - days when a piece of copper wire or books, to use as supports in a demonstration, could be readily obtained without being told it would need a written request;
    - days when you could bring your own sandwiches and be welcomed;
    - days when the building was “alive” and buzzed, and people smiled.

    This is not a criticism of the present incumbents personally. It is simply the result of the present governance structure, the roles of the staff, and their suitablity for continuing Faraday´s legacy.

    As a colleague has said, “The RI does seem to have lost its way. Perhaps, its time has passed.”
    Certainly with its present structure it has.
    And simply getting the government to bale out the RI is not the answer.

    The RI, in name need not continue. The principal Lecture Theatre is an historic arena, and it would be sad to see its demise. But how many hours a week is it actually used and with what occupancy?
    What must continue is Faraday´s real legacy – an organization committed to promoting wider access to science without dumbing it down. An organization, not just for the privileged with access to central London, but for young and old in the regions too. If such an organization could be based at Number 21 so much the better.

    But if this is to be acheived, the whole organization needs to be taken over by another academically-related organization, a new management structure created and appropriately qualified, full-time, committed and enthusiastic staff appointed. The building must be used to its full potential.

    London has many scientifically orientated institutions with fine premises such as, the Royal Society, the Royal Society of Chemistry, The Institute of Physics, The Institute of Engineering and Technology, the Geological Society, The Wellcome Foundation, not to mention the national and private museums and University institutions.
    Given Faraday´s fine contibution to all of them, only apathy, politics or egos can prevent his legacy continuing.
    Perhaps it is time to remember the adage: “God or Nature created science; man created maths, physics,chemistry and biology.”

  9. andyxl says:

    Good work Mary ! I have such wonderful memories of the Christmas Lectures, and the historic connection with Faraday is a truly important cultural heritage. I very much agreed with Harry Kroto’s point that solving this problem needs a forward looking vision for the RI and its historic home. Sentimentality won’t be enough. But its the start ! Public money needs clear public support, and THEN the business case.

    Although I am a working scientist, for me the reason to rescue Albermarle Street is not primarily about science, but very broad and cultural. It equates directly to the recent case of saving a Titian for the Nation. Its part of our History and an inspiration to the future. Its part of what made us what we are.

  10. Stephen Emanuel says:

    Shades of the sale (and subsequent grossly profitable resale) of the Spiritualist Association HQ? – http://www.civilsociety.co.uk/governance/news/content/14313/commission_looks_into_unusual_sale_of_spiritualist_property.

    No point in selling the place if the institute goes on losing money. Better to balance the books first and then not have to sell.

  11. Arran Wood says:

    Sorry I am way out of kilter here, and I feel others visiting may feel the same, thus I would rather ask than research elsewhere…

    Why is the Royal Institution closing?

    The 60 Million mentioned above is this for the purchase, or the yearly running costs or something completely different?

    I mean this with no disrespect to anyone involved, but if the post by “Prof Em Robin L Willson” is correct (and I have no reason to question that) then maybe this was/is a contributing factor.

    I know raising 60,million on-line is a feat, but it is not beyond a reasonable capacity; especially as there are many scientists that I feel would support this by providing their time in return for donations (I was personally informed of this issue by a renowned scientist: Prof Richard Dawkins, via a simple “Twitter post”)

    I personally can not offer any assistance unless I know the reasoning behind the decision made by whomever to close the institution.

    I shall return regularly to see the updates (As I recommend you cover the reasoning on this page too) Alternatively you can reach me directly on my own new twitter @ArranWood.

    Best regards
    Arran Wood
    Waiting in eager anticipation

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