Business plans in action often are not prepared for economic downturns after having made capital investments. The Royal Institute (Ri) has been in trouble since investing £22 million in a refurbishment project on it’s Mayfair home in 2008 just at the wrong moment:
The project, which included a fine-dining restaurant, was intended to modernise the institution and turn it into a “salon” for science to attract a wider audience. The subsequent economic downturn, however, meant that there were never enough visitors to pay for the organisation’s running costs. It now owes creditors about £7m.
The historical legacy of the site since 1799, whether research or public education through the famous Christmas lectures, should make this a no brainer. Faraday demonstrating electricity was just one of three thousand discourses that have taken place, and research ranging from the thermos flask to x rays organised. More on the history of Ri can be read here.
Whilst it is possible to give donations to Ri which you can do here. I have asked the Ri if there is a specific way we can donate that may prevent the site being sold.
Professor Sir Harry Kroto, who long time readers will know kindly commented when I was blogging on the Reiss affair at the Royal Society, is vocally looking to put on the pressure to look at alternatives to selling. The comment I left on the savetheri blog that encourages people to contact him was:
Losing Ri would be like the Globe being sold. Mismanagement not trying to fundraise sooner since difficulties has left us in a situation where we have to act now to save, and ensure our historical legacy is secure for the future. £7million is not an impossible debt to settle without selling out our heritage.
So do get in touch with him via the above link. Because if anyone can Sir Harry can.
UPDATE 21/1/2012 Facebook group to save Ri
Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog