Reginald Blomfield, 1906
1-4 Suffolk Street, SW1Y 4HG
Built for the United Universities Club, 1-4 Suffolk Street is now home to the University of Notre Dame and its G.K Chesterton Collection. Visitors will be able to enjoy both this Edwardian listed building and the unique collection within.
Piccadilly Circus, Charing Cross
Step-free access is possible for about two thirds of the tour, including the G.K. Chesterton collection and exhibition, but parts of the building are only accessible via stairs. We would be happy to offer a step-free modified tour to anyone who needs one: simply email us and let us know once you have booked a tour.
Originally constructed in 1823 by architects William Wilkins and J. P. Gandy-Geering, 1 Suffolk Street served as the United University Club, an esteemed gentlemen's club exclusively for members affiliated with the universities of Oxford and Cambridge. The property underwent a full reconstruction in 1904, led by the new architect R. A. (later Sir Reginald) Blomfield, who infused a "Baroque design with a French flavour" into the structure. Subsequently, in 1924, the United University Club expanded its lease to include numbers 2, 3, and 4. Once again, Sir Reginald Blomfield was commissioned to oversee the project, which reached completion in the same year. To accommodate the growing membership, an extension was added towards Whitcomb Street during the interwar years of 1939/40.
In 1971, the renowned banking institution Coutts & Co assumed the lease of the building, which they occupied until 1983. Following their departure, the British School of Osteopathy took over the premises. The school initiated renovations to transform the building into a suitable educational space while also establishing a clinic for public use and recreational facilities for faculty, students, and staff.
In 1997, the University of Notre Dame embarked on a ten-month construction endeavour to adapt the building into a suitable facility for students studying in London. Simultaneously, efforts were made to restore the structure to its original design in compliance with the requirements set by English Heritage
The University of Notre Dame is an American institution highly esteemed for its academic excellence and emphasis on global education. The university's affiliation with London dates back to 1968 when it began an international study program, initially involving law students. In 1981, the London Undergraduate Program was introduced, initially catering to students from the College of Arts & Letters. As the number of participants increased, Notre Dame relocated its London programs to Fischer Hall in 1998, offering enhanced academic facilities to accommodate the growing student population.
To further enhance the experience of its students, the university inaugurated Conway Hall in 2011, a dedicated residence for Notre Dame students studying in London. This addition not only provided comfortable accommodations but also fostered a sense of community among the students.
Notre Dame's London presence encompasses a diverse range of academic programs, internships, and cultural immersion opportunities. This commitment underscores the university's dedication to offering a comprehensive global education and ensuring that its students gain a transformative and enriching experience while studying abroad in London.
G.K. Chesterton, a prolific English Catholic writer and philosopher, left a profound impact on literature, journalism, theology, and social criticism. His diverse body of work encompassed fiction, poetry, essays, and plays, showcasing his broad talents and intellectual curiosity. Notably, Chesterton held a special connection with the University of Notre Dame, where he was appointed a visiting professor and bestowed an honorary degree in 1930.
Located at 1-4 Suffolk Street, the G.K. Chesterton Collection serves as a hub for fostering interest and scholarly engagement with Chesterton's legacy. It is a comprehensive archive spanning his life and career, featuring an array of materials such as books, his own artwork, and personal belongings, like his glasses and pocket watch. The collection was meticulously curated by Aidan Mackey, a renowned Chesterton expert, who dedicated years to acquiring these valuable resources. Previously housed at the Oxford Oratory library, the collection found its new home at Notre Dame's London Global Gateway in 2019, furthering its accessibility and potential for research and study.
One of London's finest examples of Georgian architecture, Carlton House Terrace was designed by John Nash and built between 1827 and 1833. It is home to the British Academy, the UK’s national academy for the humanities and social sciences.
John Nash, 1827
Discover the architecture of the National Portrait Gallery, designed in 1896 by Ewan Christian and now transformed by Jamie Fobert Architects. Please meet at the Ross Street Entrance. Drop-in 16 & 17 September at specific times listed below. But please note that spaces are extremely limited and tour places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. Please arrive early to avoid disappointment.
Ewan Christian, 1896
religious, concert/performance space, restaurant/bar
One of Britain's finest churches, built in the Italian Baroque tradition and beautifully restored in 2008. Sustainable features include new heating and management systems and lightwell. RIBA Award Winner 2009. Civic Trust Award Winner 2010.
James Gibbs, 1726
institution/profession, scientific, education, library, online
A spectacular Grade I listed building designed by famed architect John Nash. Built in 1831, these former townhouses have undergone refurbishments throughout their history. The building is now home to the UK's national science academy.
John Nash, Decimus Burton, 1831
institution/profession, library, museum
HQ of professional and examining body for UK optometrists occupying two terraced houses, No. 41 (Flitcroft c1730 with later additions) and No. 42 (rebuilt by Tarmac plc, c1989) including Council chamber, print room, library and museum.
Henry Flitcroft, 1730
Ever since the United States gained independence, Americans have been showing up again and again. This tour is about their influence on the UK from before the Revolutionary War to American heiresses marrying for titles to WWII to today.
Former US Embassy - Eero Saarinen, 1960
religious, mixed use
Three centuries of Quakers in Westminster. Opened in 1883, with front doors added in the 1920s. It was bomb-damaged in 1941 and rebuilt in 1956. Grade II listed registered place of worship, it contains a peaceful meeting room and 1950s wood panelling and fittings.
W. W. Lee and J. A. Tregelles, 1883
historical house, museum
Grade I listed Georgian house, the only surviving home of Benjamin Franklin, retaining many original features including central staircase, lathing, 18th Century panelling, stoves, windows, fittings and beams.
Baron William Craven the Younger, 1732
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