The Queen’s Tower - Chronology

1851 Conceived by Prince Albert, the Prince Consort, the Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations was held in Hyde Park in 1851 and celebrated the very best of modern technology and design. Surplus profits from the Exhibition were used to purchase land to realise Prince Albert’s vision for a scientific and cultural quarter in South Kensington.
1887 Queen Victoria laid the foundation stone of the Imperial Institute, which was created to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1887.
1888 Lease of land granted to the Organising Committee of the Institute by the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851. The grant of a Royal Charter established the Imperial Institute.
1892 Stones were set in the Institute’s central tower on 17 November 1892 and honoured all those with major involvement in the design and construction of the Imperial Institute.
1893 Opening of the Imperial Institute by Queen Victoria.
1907 Imperial College London created and based on the same site.
1936 The statue of Queen Victoria was donated by the University of London, which temporarily had offices in the Imperial Institute building.
1953 The government scheme for the expansion of Imperial College was announced.
1956 Imperial College’s expansion plans, which involved the demolition of the Institute, were made public. Sir Julian Huxley proposed that the central tower – now the Queen’s Tower – be retained.
1957 Demolition of the Institute began in the rear galleries.
1966 Work began to convert the central tower into a free-standing campanile, the Queen’s Tower.
1968 The Queen’s Tower work was completed.
2006 The statue of Queen Victoria by Edgar Boehm, located on the ground floor of the tower, was moved to the College’s Main Entrance.

This chronology is copied from a display board created by the College Archivist as part of the celebrations to mark 125 years of the Queen’s Tower in 2017.

HTML version by Peter Blight, February 2019.