The Home of Geography Unveils 'New' North Face

Article excerpt

Overlooking Kensington Gardens, the Society's headquarters, Lowther Lodge, has witnessed many changes since the Society bought it in 1912 after a massive fundraising effort by then president Lord Curzon. Major new extensions were opened in 1930 and 2004, and, most recently, the North Face of the 1874 building emerged from scaffolding in April after extensive conservation to reveal once again the exterior splendour of one of the finest Victorian buildings in London.

The Society's current president, Michael Palin, launched the President's Appeal in 2009 to preserve the Grade [II.sup.*]-listed building's facade and to transform the old library (the Nightingale Room) into a members' room. The 860,000 [pounds sterling] target was achieved in just ten months. Guttering has now been repaired, brickwork repointed, window lights refurbished, the characterful balcony reinstated and ornamental brickwork painstakingly conserved.

'We're very proud that this marvellous building--the home of geography--has been given new life thanks to the great generosity of hundreds of Fellows and members, including Sir Christopher Ondaatje and John Fenwick, along with the invaluable support of our Hong Kong branch, and trusts and foundations including Viridor Credits Environmental Company and the Wolfson Foundation,' Michael said.

With the North Face refurbishment finished and works on the Members' Room firmly underway, the Society's forthcoming annual general meeting, medals and awards ceremony, and reception on 6 June will certainly be a time to celebrate.

'Whether we are championing the importance of geography to the government, making new discoveries through scientific expeditions and research, inspiring teachers, or engaging the public with a better understanding of our world, the support of our membership helps so much in our work,' said the Society's director, Dr Rita Gardner.

The membership of the Society today comes from a broad base of supporters whose interest in geography may be professional' or purely for pleasure as enthusiasts. …

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