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That long march through the institutions: that\’s another one they\’ve bankrupted

The Royal Institution\’s building in Mayfair – the place where 10 chemical elements were discovered and where Michael Faraday first demonstrated the power of electricity – has been put up for sale in an attempt to cover the charity\’s mounting debts.

Scientists responded with shock that potential buyers had been shown around the RI\’s imposing, grade I listed building on Albemarle Street in central London, with a view to selling the property for more than £60m.


Get one of the caring, sharing, let\’s make it all more relevant, people into control of one of these things and they drive it into bankruptcy, don\’t they?

The Guardian, The Industrial Society, now the Royal Institution.

Even if you look at it from Gramsci\’s point of view, the aim was to control the institutions, not destroy them.

23 thoughts on “That long march through the institutions: that\’s another one they\’ve bankrupted”

  1. Do scientists really need to be based in London, and especially Mayfair? I can understand in the days of gentlemen scientists and all, but would it hurt if the RI was in Cambridge, Birmingham or Bristol?

  2. maybe not, the stigler but until the modernisers got their hands on it, the RI was anle to live off its investment income. The modernisers sold off the investment assets to build a restaurant…

  3. Wasn’t it founded as a club? And do (should?) club members stump up in hard times?

    That fine dining restaurant (though WTF?) seems a natural for Heston Blumenthal and his retorts and alembics. Maybe that would help?

  4. Unimpressed. Some apparently smart people made some very stupid decisions when dealing with things outside the realm of their expertise. I’m reminded of the Church Of Englands foray into the property market in the last century.

    Perhaps this should be a lesson for scientists who have decided that their scientific expertise qualifies them to propose policy solutions to problems they believe they have identified.

  5. Sad, but no surprise to me as the RI has been in trouble ever since Baroness Greenfield flogged off the only assets generating an income for the charity to pay for a woefully underused restaurant and bar (as well as redeveloping her grace and favour apartment).

    I’ve watched the Christmas lectures since I was a child and you may have noted that there are only three rather than the five that there used to be. That’s a direct consequence of the financial difficulties that the RI is in.

  6. It wasn’t until the 12th para that the Tox Dadger named the daft bint responsible, “Lady” Greenfield. Had she been a Tory it would have been mentioned in the headline.

  7. View from the Solent

    “Even if you look at it from Gramsci’s point of view, the aim was to control the institutions, not destroy them.”
    How can you be sure?

  8. Wiki says she sat in the HoL as a cross-dresser–sorry-cross-bencher and abstained on a range of issues. She seems to be proof that science and worldly wisdom or even common sense don’t always go together.

  9. The only institutions we are left with after this sad bout of communism are those that are publicly funded despite pursuing the sad, mad, bad ideals of their “socialist” executives.

    Step forward the RSPCA and the old WWF as prime examples. Loony Greenfield wasn’t even bright enough to go down that route.

    A sad decline from the heady days of Hook, Newton and Wren. Men who were so gifted they conquered fields of endeavour merely because they became interested in them.

    Were they alive today, doubtless Wren would have built a magnificent edifice, funded by a scheme dreamed up by Newton, while Hook buggered off and did something weird.

  10. Gramsci was rational, the Blair Witch project is not.

    Anything with Royal in it’s name which celebrated Faraday (a White Old Guy-WOG) would be targeted for destruction by the wimmin. Mission accomplished.

    Next up I MechE, that well known food “engineering” institution.

  11. why do you ask about Greenfield’s politics, PaulB? Are you one of those “bankers bad, metal-bashers good”, morons?

    in any event, she was a disastrous choice – even worse, perhaps than Adam Crozier at the FA and then the Royal Mail. Was he “High Tory”, using your terminology?

  12. If my raising “Lady” Muttonhead’s politics has become contentious, let me make the point in another way. Had the idiot behind this saga been a male, especially an Etonian male, it would have been in the headline in the Tox Dadger.

  13. I’ve enjoyed watching the Royal Institution Christmas lectures since I was a kid and experiments are always fun, but it’s capture by the pseudo scientists of climate alarmism has led it through the paths of Dante’s dark wood.

    Much of the credit of being the high altar of British scientific achievement has been wasted in banging the drum of ‘awareness’ rather than rational scientific analysis. By definition, scientists should remain sceptical in all things, not just the de jure panic-of-the-day.

    If the Royal Institution pays for it’s sins by being cast into the outer darkness, then that will be a real shame, but a price worth paying to rid bad science of another pedestal from which to preach.

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