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Building on our heritage: the future of our Lincoln's Inn Fields buildings

The project so far

  • We submitted our 2016 application for planning consent to Westminster Council on 21 September and received approval in January 2017,  subject to conditions as expected.
  • We have been discussing our plans with the specialty associations based in the building, including their space within the building during the interim period and post-2020.
  • We have developed plans ensuring that we minimise the impact of the redevelopment to the services we provide to our members, customers and visitors, and we will continue to provide information on our website as the project progresses.

Key dates for the future

Provisional key dates of the project
Planning application process 21 September to 17 January 2017  
Nuffield hotel closure 31 March 2017  
Wellcome Museum of Anatomy and Pathology closure 28 Feb 2017  
  Start date Reopen
Hunterian Museum closure 20 May 2017 November 2021
Lincoln's Inn Fields conference and education facilities unavailable for hire 30 June 2017

Summer 2021

Archive services closure 24 March 2017 Spring 2021
Library services - amended service 24 March 2017 Spring 2021

Your services in the development phase and post-2020


Interim period

We are continuing to run a range of courses throughout the period of building works. These will be delivered working closely with our partner centres in Manchester and London and further details will be available shortly. Our regional course provision remains unaffected by the redevelopment.


Our aim for 2021 is to provide the profession with a state of the art, flexible and adaptable Professional Surgical Centre within the redeveloped RCS building that can be used for courses, innovation, development and piloting, and research. We are finalising the plans for a forward looking space that provides a great learning environment.

 View the current design plans, or if you have any questions concerning education services, contact or call us on 020 7869 6300.


Interim period

We are holding examinations in our partner London venues during the development period.  The normal programme of exams is not affected.


We have reviewed the available options for holding examinations, which will continue to take place from our redeveloped London home.  We are now finalising the design plans to ensure an efficient, modern, working environment.

Library, museums and archives

Our library, museums and archives contain 223,609 boxes and individual items which we have cataloged, cleaned and packed and moved into storage both off site and to collections stores in the Nuffield Building. 


Interim period

We have collaborated with several leading heritage organisations in order to enhance the storage and display of our collections during the development of the Lincoln’s Inn Fields building. 

  • British Library - Library books & journals
  • TNA - Archives & rare books
  • NHM - Museum objects
  • LMA - Archives


The new Hunterian Museum will, like the current museum, be a world-class showcase for the history, science and art of surgery. Located at the heart of the new building, on the ground floor and providing much improved  physical access, it will  include a temporary exhibition space and public learning centre. Visitors will be able to enter from both Lincoln’s Inn Fields and Portugal Street and new public facilities of a café and museum shop will be included.

The new Anatomy and Pathology Resource Centre (Wellcome Museum Collection) will be located in the basement area and will be developed, through the addition of online material and AV for use by groups involved in surgical and other medical training and in the study of human health.

Audience and academic research is ongoing and will inform the development and design of both museums.

View the current design plans, or if you have any questions concerning museum or archive services please contact email or call 0207 6896560.

Library services

Interim period

Access to all RCS online resources and services including the Current Awareness Service and Literature Search Service will not be directly affected by the redevelopment project with staff fully supporting these services throughout the project.  Over 90% of our current journal holdings are available electronically.

The Library Reading Room is now closed to visitors. During the closure we are working with our partner institutions to provide managed access to our collections for study and research. 


The RCS library on the first floor will remain and be refurbished and restored. Both physical and online library services will continue. There will be a members' library and a research suite where RCS collections can be studied with dedicated staff support.

Whilst a large amount of material will be permanently stored off-site, there will be a retrieval service in place for access to these books and journals.

Read more about changes to library services, or if you have any questions, contact or call us on 020 7869 6555. 


Interim period

Access to archives is available at our partner site, LMA. You can book an appointment for the service by emailing Sue Isaac at


We currently plan to re-open our service at a new temporary site in central London in autumn 2017.  Once the service reopens you will be able to book an appointment via email.  There will be some changes to request times as some archives may have to be recalled from another location outside London. 


We are allocating the necessary space for our archives in the redeveloped building. More information will be made available once our plans have been finalised.

View the current design plans, or if you have any questions concerning RCS archives, contact or call us on 020 7869 6513. 

Members' lounge

Interim period

The members’ lounge will continue to be hosted on the ground floor of the Nuffield building throughout the building development project.

Post 2020

There will be enhanced social, networking and catering facilities throughout the building, including a revitalised café on the ground floor. 

Overnight accommodation

Interim and post-2020

Club Quarters, less than a hundred yards away on the adjacent side of Lincoln's Inn Fields, will provide hotel accommodation on our behalf to a high standard and at a discounted rate. Quote 'Royal College of Surgeons' when booking.

The discount will be available for events and meetings from 31 March 2017 onwards.


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