Royal Geographical Society

16:37 Mon 24th May 2010 |

The Royal Geographical Society is the learned society and professional body for geography. Established in 1830, they advance geography and support its practitioners. Housed in the beautiful, grade II; Lowther Lodge in Kensington, the society is renowned for its exhibitions which aim to enrich our knowledge of the world's people, places and environments.

Like many learned societies at the time of enlightenment, it started as a dining club in London, where select members held informal dinner debates on current scientific issues and ideas. The Society’s purpose remains the same today as when it was first founded, namely the ‘advancement of geographical science’.

The history of the Society was closely allied for many of its earlier years with ‘colonial’ exploration in Africa, the Indian subcontinent, the Polar Regions, and central Asia especially. It enshrines such famous names as Livingstone, Stanley, Scott, Shackleton, Hunt and Hillary.

The Society also devoted much attention to education and was responsible for both the incorporation of the study of geography in schools at the turn of the 20th century and for the first university positions in the discipline.

The Royal Geographical Society is one of the most sought after venues in London for civil ceremonies, weddings and receptions. The baronial Hall is licensed to hold civil marriage and partnership ceremonies.

The Ondaatje Theatre is renowned for the lectures and debates which take place most weekday nights. Accommodating audiences of 750, it is the foremost London venue for presentations on a wide range of subjects.

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The House office can be contacted direct on tel: +44(0)20 7591 3090 or email:

The Pavilion exhibition space is open to the public from 10.00 - 17.00, Monday to Friday (except bank holidays and the period from Christmas to New Year). The Society is a membership organisation and the building is as such not generally open to the public. The building is open to the public as part of the Open House weekend in September each year.

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