Burlington House

Find out more about the home of the Linnean Society, Burlington House, which has been a cultural hub for arts and sciences since 1874

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

The Society moved into the original Burlington House in 1857 and occupied part of what was then the town house of the Boyle family. The town house was originally built for Lord Burlington by Sir James Denham, surveyor of the works to Charles II, and was visited by Samuel Pepys in 1668. Richard Boyle, Earl of Burlington (1695–1753), put on a new south front and added an Italianate colonnade with archway entrance to the front courtyard. The house passed to the Duke of Devonshire in 1753 who built the Burlington Arcade on adjacent land.

In 1854 the house and gardens were purchased by the Government. In 1856 the Royal Society, the Chemical Society and the Linnean Society were permitted to occupy the rooms as a result of a Memorandum issued by Earl Rose, President of the Royal Society, recommending that the Government provide accomodation "under one roof" for the Learned Societies, an idea which was welcomed by Prince Albert. Various plans for the use of the premises were considered, then in 1867 the Government leased the main building to the Royal Academy of Arts and allocated funds towards new premises for the Learned Societies in purpose-built wings around the courtyard. The architects for the Learned Society rooms were Messrs, Banks and Barry. The Linnean Society moved into its new rooms in November 1873.