Somerset House shares throwback to when its iconic courtyard was... a car park for Inland Revenue?

·2-min read
Photo credit: Getty
Photo credit: Getty

Somerset House is one of the most iconic buildings in Britain. Sitting on The Strand with its terrace overlooking the thames, the cultural hub's courtyard is regularly used in movies, transformed into spectacular event spaces, was formerly the home of London Fashion Week, and every winter becomes the top skating destination; filling our social media feeds with happy snaps of days out to Skate at Somerset House.

Even in its every day life, we all know it as a pretty fancy spot. But as little as 30 years ago it used to be... a car park for the Inland Revenue. No really.

The venue shared a throwback snap to its Instagram of courtyards past, captioning it "Once upon a time, in a city not that far away...⁠⁠"

It's barely recognisable!

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The reason for the throwback was explained in the caption, which read: "This week is #MuseumWeek, and today's theme is #OnceUponATimeMW, exploring 'beginnings' - so here's a dusty old photo of where things began for us, before we were transformed into a centre for contemporary culture at the turn of the millennium.⁠⁠
"Who would have thought that what was once a car park for the Inland Revenue would one day house an enchanting forest of 400 living trees? A fairytale ending indeed...⁠⁠"

A glow up indeed! The venue began developing into an arts and culture hub in the late 1980's, which accelerated around the Millennium with grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Now the venue is the incredible space we know today.

Princess Eugenie was there just this week visiting the Forest for Change immersive instillation of 400 trees where you can discover the United Nations's 16 Global Goals to tackle poverty, inequality and climate change

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The installation is part of the London Design Biennale that marks the return of groundbreaking culture at Somerset House.

Now if you pay the venue a visit, you can wow your companions with this historic fun fact!

The London Design Biennale is open until 27 June, with immersive and interactive pavilions from designers from across the globe, all responding to the question, 'how can we design a better world.

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