Blog|Venue ideas

Venues that tell a story – 8 venues with a unique history

historic venues for events in London

Here-today, gone-tomorrow; it seems a new pop-up opens in London everyday. All very exciting but there’s a lot to be said for a venue with character that’s stood the test of time and has a story to tell.

Our round up of the best historical venues for hire are picked for their own remarkable history that makes for a unique event setting. Here’s 8 of the best historical venues for hire.

The Foundling Museum

Originally established in 1739 as a hospital which looked after abandoned children, the Foundling Museum now tells their story. When a child, abandoned by their deprived families, was left at The Foundling Hospital orphanage, they were given a small token, like a button so that they could be identified if their families were able later on to take them home again. Sadly almost none did. The museum also displays works by the many artists who became governors of the hospital, including William Hogarth and Handel.  A gorgeous Georgian venue with preserved 18th century interiors and an inspiring history.

St Pancras Renaissance Hotel

Described as “too beautiful and too romantic to survive”, by Sir John Betjeman, the St Pancras Renainassance Hotel has battled against the odds and was renovated in 2004 into a new hotel, with a grand opening on the 5 May 2011, exactly 138 years after the original opening. Behind the gothic red brick exterior a treasure trove of Victorian treats were revealed with intricate carved stonework, rich paintwork and grand staircase (famously used as the location for the Spice Girls ‘Wannabe’ video). An impressive setting for receptions, banquets and conferences.

Masonic Temple, Liverpool Street

For decades, staff at the Great Eastern Hotel regularly walked past an inconspicuous looking wall, unaware of what lay behind it. During construction, someone looking at the blueprints noticed there was an additional room that had long been kept a secret… Once the wall was demolished, the heavy studded doors that lay behind parted to reveal an opulent combination of Italian marble and checked floors inside a Masonic Lodge. Descending the temple’s spiral staircase provided a better view of the stunning blue dome ceiling with gold zodiac detail, regal thrones and organ. It’s now available for event hire and for location hire, as seen in Lady Gaga’s shoot for Hello Kitty’s 35th birthday.

Kent House Knightsbridge

Kent House Knightsbridge is a destination fit for a King. Named after the Duke of Kent and father to Queen Victoria, rumour has it that he used the venue to entertain his mistresses with a secret tunnel built to whisk him back into Kensington Palace unnoticed.  In the 1930s it was used by Lady Nobel as a remarkable Salon to entertain the rich artistic elite. With a racy royal history this luxury townhouse is popular for a range of events including conferences, dinners, fashion shoots and private parties.

Wiltons Music Hall

The oldest grand music hall in the world, Wiltons Music Hall is a venue where you can see the history on the walls. John Wilton bought the business in 1850, building his first music hall and furnishing it with mirrors, chandeliers and decorative paintwork and installed the finest heating, lighting and ventilation systems of the day. Madrigals, glees and excerpts from opera were at first the most important part of the entertainment, along with the latest attractions from West End and provincial halls, circus, ballet and fairground. Now a grade II listed building, Wiltons has been transformed from a derelict warehouse to a thriving venue.

Victorian Bath House

The Victorian venue, just two minutes away from Liverpool Street, appears frozen in time, juxtaposed against a backdrop of modern buildings. Given the unexpected nature of its location, you’ll fall for its charms before you even enter. Once inside you leave the modern world outside as you transcend into the splendid interior of this Grade II venue.  Originally erected in 1895 to house a Turkish Bath for those working in the city, the building has withstood World War II and office redevelopments projects in the surrounding area. It’s a beautifully preserved venue which has been stunningly restored by the design team of Russell Sage Studio who have repaired the original tessellating mosaics and crimson pillars to create a unique interior.

The Grouch Club Soho

Dreamt up as an alternative to stuffy gentleman’s clubs the Groucho Club is named in reference to Groucho Marx’s telegram saying he didn’t want to be a member of any club that would have him, and whilst newer openings, such as Soho House, may now dominate the private members clubs market, the authenticity of the Grouch Club means it still holds its own. Located in the heart of bohemian Soho, the Grouch Club has several event spaces available for private hire by both members and non-members alike. Unique and unusual, this venue is perfect for those looking for a quirky and beautiful venue in a central London location and is an ideal location for private parties.

Speech Room, Harrow

The Old Speech Room at Harrow school was built around 1820 as a space where boys could learn the art of public speaking. It’s famous for the speech Winston Churchill gave in 1941 ‘Never Give Up’ and is a truly inspirational location to host a conference.


Here at Evolve Events we work with some of the most prestigious and unusual venues available. If you’d like to know more about venue hire options or arrange a viewing with any of these historic venues for event hire, or would like our help finding another perfect venue for your event just get in touch with the team.

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