The Institution initially rented premises in London but by 1895 the Institution had had an offer accepted for land at Storey’s Gate with the intention of building a permanent headquarters. Building work soon commenced and 1 Birdcage Walk was officially opened on 16-17 May 1899, celebrated by a two-day conversazione for members and 750 guests.
Inside the new building were many state-of-the art features, such as a telephone; a 54-inch fan in the lecture theatre, for driving St James’s Park air into the building; an electric lift from the Otis Company, and a Synchronome leader clock, which controlled all house timepieces.
In the same year a Graduates’ section for younger members was created and immediately made its mark with the first paper on automobiles read before the Institution (“Motor haulage on common roads” by Alfred Marsden) The first paper on motor cars delivered to the Institution proper was not until a year later in 1900. (‘Road locomotion’ by Henry Hele-Shaw)