The British Academy
- Original design
- John Nash, 1833
The 2018 programme is now past. We will be launching the 2019 programme mid-August.
The creation of a British Academy 'for the Promotion of Historical, Philosophical and Philological Studies' was first proposed in 1899 in order that Britain could be represented at a meeting of European and American academies. The organisation, which became known simply as the British Academy, received its Royal Charter from King Edward VII in 1902 and is the UK’s national body for the humanities and social sciences, covering subjects from archaeology to economics, psychology to history, and from literature to law.
Since its foundation, many of Britain's most distinguished scholars in the humanities and social sciences have been involved in the life of the Academy. The roll call of past Fellows includes many of the greatest British names of the twentieth century: the influential economists John Maynard Keynes, Friedrich Hayek and William Beveridge; the eminent thinkers Karl Popper and Isaiah Berlin; Louis and Mary Leakey, who made pioneering discoveries on the origins of man; and C. S. Lewis and Henry Moore, Fellows who combined learning with creativity.
Current Fellows of the British Academy include classicist Mary Beard, historians Diarmaid MacCulloch and Peter Hennessy, author and critic Marina Warner, and historian David Cannadine.
One of London's finest Georgian treasures, the Terrace was designed by John Nash and constructed from 1827 to 1833 on the site of Carlton House, the former home of the Prince Regent, later George IV. The Terrace as a whole was conceived as a scenic backdrop to St James's Park but the interiors were designed individually so no two are the same. The original occupants were free to commission their own architect to complete the interior – eleven chose Nash. The interiors of 10 and 11 are by Bonomi – later altered by Billery and Blow – and Pennethorne, Nash’s pupil, respectively.
The houses have always had a mixed press. Nash told a Parliamentary committee of enquiry that he was thinking 'as a painter' when designing the Terrace, and pressed originally for a fountain on the site of the Duke of York's Column. Architectural historian Sir John Summerson grudgingly admitted that they were 'impressive in their loose, almost shoddy fashion' while another, Sir Nikolaus Pevsner, described the Terrace as among ‘the greatest terrace houses ever built in Britain’.
Former occupants of 10-11 Carlton House Terrace
No. 10 was the London residence of the Ridley family of Northumberland from 1831 to just after the First World War. Sir Matthew White Ridley, 5th Baronet and 1st Viscount Ridley, Lord Salisbury's Home Secretary, was born there in 1842. The 2nd Viscount Ridley commissioned a remodelling in the French classical style in 1905, including the installation of a black marble staircase in the entrance hall. During the First World War, Lady Ridley opened up the home as a Hospital for Wounded Officers.
No. 11's occupants have been slightly more varied. The first resident was Frederick John, 5th Baron Monson, followed by William Crockford, proprietor of the celebrated gambling hall, and Earl of Arundel and Surrey, heir to the Duke of Norfolk. From 1856 to 1875 No. 11 was the home of former Prime Minister William Gladstone, including the early years of his first great ministry, 1868-74. His diaries reveal that the Cabinet occasionally met at the house. Finally, after Gladstone’s resignation in 1875, the Guinness family took over the lease, staying on until the 1920s (with an interruption when the house became an annexe to the Horse Guards' high command).
At that point the Union Club took a lease of both 10 and 11 until the 1950s. Sections of the Commonwealth Secretariat then occupied No. 10 and much of No. 11, until the British Academy took over occupation in 1998. The Foreign Press Association were located in part of No. 11 until 2009, at which point the British Academy came to occupy both buildings. In 2010 the Academy embarked on an ambitious £2.75M project to renovate and restore the public rooms in No. 11, and link the two buildings together. The work was completed in January 2011 and the Academy now operates the two buildings as a single unit.
To discover more about the British Academy, visit: www.britishacademy.ac.uk