Independence Day BBQ
Thomas Fink barbeques a Texan lunch in the popular seminar room fireplace as the London Institute celebrates American Independence Day.
Fires at the London Institute are a regular tradition. They form a focal point for conversation and a backdrop for blackboard calculations. Visitors are delighted and surprised to find a smouldering fire in London, but fires are perfectly permissible. Our fires are made from a range of fuels: hard and soft wood and coal and smokeless coal. (This is in contrast to the American tradition, where resinous soft woods are proscribed because fireplaces are rarely swept). The energy output of these fuels is largely proportional to their densities, but they differ in how much flame they emit and how long they last. In general, soft wood is to hard wood is to coal is to smokeless coal, where the amount of flame decreases along the progression but longevity increases.
The fireplace itself is in the seminar room and dates from the 18th-century. At the top of the marble surround is a classical lamp, in the manner of Robert Adam, which forms the Institute’s seal. In addition to fires for warmth and companionship throughout the year, the fireplace is occasionally used for barbeques—an even rarer central London sight.