By: 5 August 2021
A College transformed: The Royal College of Surgeons of England headquarters reopen with a new vision for the future

The Royal College of Surgeons of England opened its new headquarters in London in July. The College’s Lincoln’s Inn Fields building has been transformed from a sprawling warren of corridors, built in the aftermath of WWII, to a state-of-the-art training centre for future generations of surgeons and dental professionals.

The redevelopment retains the historic frontage designed by Palace of Westminster architect Sir Charles Barry, whilst the rear focuses on being high-tech and environmentally sustainable, reflecting the College’s changing functions as a home for surgical excellence in the UK and across the world.

Central to the building’s makeover, are the state-of-the-art learning, examinations, and event facilities, including the Professional Surgical Centre. This is complemented by the Lumley Library, contemporary meeting rooms, members’ areas, Surgical Speciality Association facilities, office zones, and a new public entrance and café.

The College is also launching The View, a modern, light, and flexible space for meetings, conferences, weddings, and parties. The View boasts beautiful views over the city, and a terrace for guests to enjoy on summer evenings. The Hunterian Museum, which is also housed in the College and is a popular destination for tourists, will reopen in early 2023.

The project to transform the building began in 2017 under the Presidency of Dame Clare Marx. Commenting on the building re-opening, the current RCS England President, Professor Neil Mortensen, said: “We’re immensely proud to move into our new building today. It is a wonderful blend of old and new, with an atmosphere that combines a legacy of excellence with future innovation.

“The College is looking to change the face of surgery in many ways. We have started our journey by creating a space, both in the building and online, where the best surgical minds can come together to learn and share ideas on how best to promote excellent surgical care for all. However, we know that if surgery is to survive and thrive, we also need to focus our attentions on issues that will further the surgical profession in years to come – including diversity, wellbeing, and sustainability.

“So, alongside our new headquarters and commitment to change the face of surgery, we are also launching a new five-year strategy, with a particular focus on promoting diversity, inclusion, and fairness in our College and right across the surgical and dental profession.

“It is an exciting time for the College. As Covid-19 restrictions start to ease, we look forward to welcoming our diverse surgical family to their professional home over the coming months. We have no doubt that our new home of surgery will shape the future of our profession and help us, together, to change the face of surgery.”


Changing the face of surgery – five-year strategy

Together with the launch of its new headquarters, The Royal College of Surgeons of England is also launching a new strategy for the next five years. The strategy brings together a new vision, mission, values, and strategic aims, marking RCS England’s place in a post-COVID world. It sets out what the College will do to support members, the wider surgical and dental workforce, patients, the NHS, and policymakers to recover from the impact of the pandemic on services, training, and standards across England, the devolved nations of the UK and beyond. It also sets out how the College will explore the opportunities of the digital age, and address the challenges of professional specialisation, changing workforce expectations and record waiting lists for surgery.

The new strategy has a particular focus on promoting diversity, inclusion, and equity within the College and right across the surgical and dental profession.


The new building

The famous north frontage and library have been preserved and restored.

The Hunterian Museum, which will re-open in early 2023, benefits from a new façade and entrance on the south side of Portugal Street. The museum will be expanded to occupy most of the ground floor. It will tell the story of surgery, giving the public access to John Hunter’s seminal anatomical collections, through seven linked halls and galleries, culminating in an exhibition which celebrates modern surgery and patients’ stories.

The new modern building is more environmentally sustainable; replacing poorly performing post-war elements to meet modern environmental standards. The completed building achieves a BREEAM Excellent rating.


You can learn more about the transformation of The Royal College of Surgeons of England building, and its new strategy here: