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Planning permission granted for redevelopment of the Royal College of Surgeons' historic London building

20 Jan 2017

The redevelopment of the Royal College of Surgeons’ (RCS) historic London building has been given the go ahead by Westminster City Council.

The approved plans, which will refurbish and maintain the buildings prestigious façade and library, will see the site transformed into a landmark building with modern and light facilities to provide the best education, examination and research resources for the nation’s surgeons.

The world class Hunterian Museum, which currently resides on the first floor of the RCS building, will be expanded to occupy the majority of the ground floor allowing more of the museum’s collection to be displayed.

Miss Clare Marx, President of the Royal College of Surgeons, said:

“This is an important step in the transformational journey for the whole College and the many thousands of visitors who visit us and our museum every year.

“We have taken on board the feedback from the public, local community and our membership. We believe that these plans will transform the building into a home for surgical excellence in Britain and across the world.”

A large atrium inspired by the museum’s original large halls destroyed during the Second World War will form a breathtaking centrepiece to the building. The Hunterian Museum will be immediately accessible on the ground floor to visitors along with new café facilities.

RCS Barry Building front elevation

The new building will also include a Surgical Skills Centre, an exams suite, an Anatomy & Pathology Study Centre to support medical trainees in their understanding of the human anatomy, and three floors of office space with a dedicated sixth-floor conference suite.

The redeveloped building has been designed by the leading architects Hawkins\Brown. The firm, whose clients include University College London and the British Council, were chosen to lead on the project for their commitment to developing innovative and socially sustainable buildings with people at the heart of their projects.

Morag Morrison, Partner at Hawkins\Brown, said:

“The new Royal College of Surgeons at Lincoln’s Inn Fields will provide an outward-facing headquarters that will refresh the way the College is able to engage with society.

“Our design celebrates both the past and future of the College, preserving and celebrating its extraordinary 19th century fabric. We will replace the tired post-war portion of the building with sensitively designed, high-quality facilities that will locate the Royal College of Surgeons at the heart of the healthcare debate in the 21st Century.”

The redevelopment will begin in autumn this year with the project expected to be completed by Christmas 2020.

Notes to editors

  1. The Royal College of Surgeons of England is a professional membership organisation and registered charity, which exists to advance surgical standards and improve patient care.
  2. Hawkins\Brown is an architecture practice based in London and Manchester. It was founded more than 25 years ago by Partners Russell Brown and Roger Hawkins, the firm works across a range of types and scale, bringing a collaborative approach to its projects.

    Hawkins\Brown is one of the UK’s leading architects in the higher education sector and is currently working on a number of academic buildings throughout the country, including the Beecroft Theoretical and Experimental Physics Building for the University of Oxford.

    The practice has completed work on a number of significant arts and culture projects around the UK, including the Henry Moore Foundation’s site at Perry Green in Hertfordshire, The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre in Great Missenden, Bucks and the New Art Exchange in Nottingham.
  3. For more information, please contact the RCS press office on: 020 7869 6052/6047; or email:

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