Through a generous gesture from Thomas Goode, LIMS was offfered the use of 35a South St, a Grade II* building in Mayfair. The building was structurally dilapidated, and we raised £220,000 to stabilise it and redesign the floors. We are now raising £300,000 to decorate it.
LIMS' original premises were at 22 South Audley St. As the number of scientists and staff increased, and with additional government and private investment, we began our campaign to find a new, larger building. In a generous show of support for LIMS and its work, the china merchant and benefactor Thomas Goode donated the use of 35a South St, Mayfair for a finite period.
35a South St is a stand alone, five-floor building built in the mid-18th century. It is one of only 66 Grade II* listed buildings in Mayfair. Acquired by Goode in the 19th century, it is now part of the their estate. The historic importance of these buildings, of which 35a is the oldest, was assessed by Heritage Architecture, who wrote “the Thomas Goode premises is probably the only remaining purpose built store in Mayfair that is still occupied by the original company, and one of few such in London…”.
35a South Street was not used for retail, and had over recent decades fallen into disuse. “No. 35a, which is the oldest building in the group, is in extremely poor condition…mostly due to [past use] that is totally incompatible with the building's quality,” wrote Heritage Architecture. To rebuild 35a in a way that respects the building's merits, LIMS' contracted Donald Insall, architects who have worked on some of the UK's most distinguished buildings, including Windsor Castle and Trinity College, Cambridge. Along with Westminster Council, English Heritage and Stand Engineering, Insall was able to “structurally stabilise the building, repair the damage caused to its historic fabric,…and reinstate the 18th-century plan on the upper floors,” wrote Insall.
With the LIMS building structurally sound, the orignal floor plan reinstated, we have begun redecorating the interior. This includes the installation of cabinetry, plasterwork, hardwood and stone floors, rugs, blackboards, fitted bookshelves, mirrors and a kitchen. We are also buying second-hand period furniture in keeping with the Georgian building. One of our Trustees, Catherine Meyer, has kindly offered to orchestrate the decoration; during her time in Washington, D.C., Lady Meyer oversaw the redecoration of the British Ambassador's residence.
Once completed, the new premises at 35a South St will house 30 full- and part-time scientists and staff, three times as many as before. It will host conferences for up to 50, allowing LIMS to bring together hundreds of interationally renowned researchers each year. In addition to offices, there is (or will be) a seminar room for meetings, a guest room for visiting Fellows and a kitchen/coffee area for exchanging ideas. The new layout is as follows:
Floor Intended Use
|-1||Kitchen, research area for postdocs|
|0||Reception and seminar room|
|1||Grants, development, research area for Fellows|
|2||Research area for Fellows|
|3||Research area for Fellows, guest room|