In 1876 the membership (excluding Council members and overseas members) was balloted to vote on the location of a new headquarters. Of 574 ballots returned 552 voted for London and by July 1877 the Institution had moved to London.
first London base was rented premises at 10 Victoria Chambers.
The move to London precipitated a decade-long mini golden age of research and publications. The Institution established its own research committees, including one on friction and
lubrication which later became known as tribology.
By 1895 the Institution had an offer accepted for land at Storey’s Gate with the intention of building a permanent headquarters. Building work soon commenced and 1 Birdcage Walk was
officially opened on 16-17 May 1899, celebrated by a two-day conversazione for members and 750 guests.
Inside the new building were many state-of-the art features, such as a telephone; a 54-inch fan in the lecture theatre, for driving St
James’s Park air into the building; an electric lift from the Otis Company, and a Synchronome leader clock, which controlled all house timepieces.
The building was officially opened on 16-17 May 1899, celebrated by a two-day conversazione
for members and 750 guests.
In the same year a Graduates’ section for younger members was created and immediately made its mark with the first paper on automobiles read before the Institution (“Motor haulage on common roads”
by Alfred Marsden) The first paper on motor cars delivered to the Institution proper was not until a year later in 1900. (‘Road locomotion
by Henry Hele-Shaw)