IET London: Savoy Place has been a distinguished, outstanding and competitive conferencing and events venue in the heart of London for 100 years. The site however has a much longer and notorious history…
The area of Savoy takes its name from Peter, Count of Savoy, who was given the land by Henry III in 1246 to build a palace on the site, but after his death in 1268 the property was eventually given to the Earl of Lancaster by his mother, Eleanor of Provence (Queen to Henry III).
After serving as a prison for the Duchy during the 15th century, Henry VII left money in his will for the Savoy to be rebuilt as a hospital to care for the needy people of London. Over the years, Savoy changed uses from housing wounded soldiers to being transformed into a military barracks and prison before being demolished in 1877 to make way for the city's Victoria Embankment.
Parts of ancient Savoy remained until the beginning of the 19th century, but most buildings were swept away for the construction of Waterloo Bridge (1811) and the Thames Embankment (1862). However, with this regeneration the Savoy was finally returning to a place of prestige.
IET London: Savoy Place as it stands now had its foundation stone laid by Queen Victoria before being adapted even further to include classrooms, a laboratory and a theatre adjacent to the examination hall. Originally designed as a joint examination hall for the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Surgeons, the building became home to the Institution of Engineering and Technology in 1909 (then the IEE).
In 1922 a meeting of 200 companies held in our Lecture Theatre resulted in the formation of the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) who went on to share some of the building with us and air some of their first radio broadcasts from here before the IET (then the IEE) took full ownership.
Since our initial ownership in 1909, the venue has undergone loving transformations to become London’s most treasured events and weddings venue, with careful care to keep infusions of this history throughout.
Learn more about the history of Savoy Place [new window]