About The Royal Institution

Though previously well known to be a private-members only venue, the Royal Institution recently decided to open up this venue’s doors to the general public.

The Royal Institution truly is one of Liverpool’s hidden gems. The architectural grandeur of the venue is absolutely stunning and we endeavour to provide a classy yet intimate atmosphere to enjoy.

The Royal Institution is proud to be run by experienced operators with sister venues across the city all ranging in style and finesse.

The History of The Royal Institution

The Royal Institution was originally founded as a learned society in 1814 for the ‘Promotion of Literature, Science and the Arts’. It was an exclusive members-only club for historians, scientists, artists and a range of other carefully selected, profound professionals.

The institution officially opened in November 1817 following the purchase of the Colquitt Street building, in which it is currently housed. The building was constructed in 1799 to serve as offices and residence for the Liverpool merchant Thomas Parr.

After being recognised as an organisation of academic significance, the institute was granted a prestigious Royal Charter in 1821.

The original and most notable founding members of the Royal Institution include; William Corrie- a Liverpool born Broker, William Rathbone IV- a Liverpool ship owner and merchant, Thomas Stewart Traill- an esteemed academic from Orkney and William Roscoe- a banker/ lawyer who then became a Liverpool representative Member of Parliament.

When Roscoe became an MP, he was able to cast his vote for the successful abolition of slavery in Liverpool.

Though considered radical at the time, due to the significant reduction of wealth received from slave trade, this movement was a definite step forward towards the society we all love in Liverpool today.

In 1826 an American born painter, naturalist and ornithologist, John James Audobon, presented the first European exhibition of his work ‘The Birds of America’ at Liverpool Royal Institution. The exhibition was a portfolio containing over 300 drawings showing the species of bird’s native to America. Some drawings can still be seen today throughout the venue as framed prints and murals, paying respect to the revered artist.

To honour the history of The Liverpool Royal Institution, we would like to take you back to the 1920’s, to pay homage to the era of Prohibition. A time where the production, importation, transportation, and the sale of alcohol was banned (a very sad time for all!).

However, this did not stop the alcohol flowing freely in rural areas, back alleys, and speakeasies, thus giving birth to the “Roaring Twenties”.

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