Royal Society Library staff are gearing up for a hectic few weeks, after the holiday lull following July’s Summer Science Exhibition and the election ceremony for the 2018 new Fellows.

In between our summer vacations, we’ve been doing some behind-the-scenes housekeeping, and moving paintings around to assist the room redecoration taking place in 6-9 Carlton House Terrace. Refreshed and ready to go, we’re looking forward to the autumn, starting with our ‘Science and the First World War: the aftermath’ conference on 13 September. Tickets are still available, costing £50 / £30 concessions (including lunch!), and we hope to see you for what promises to be a stimulating day of lectures and discussion.

On the weekend of 22-23 September, Library staff will be taking up their usual role as tour guides for Open House weekend, when the great buildings of the capital provide access to public visitors keen to learn about architecture, history and hidden London treasures. As you’ll doubtless know, three-quarters of the Royal Society’s current home was the German Embassy until 1939, and we can point you to the grave of the ambassador’s dog (terrier or Alsatian, depending on who you ask) in our tiny remnant of the embassy garden. Happily, the recent fitting of new carpets in the former German state rooms did not reveal the giant swastika emblem rumoured to lurk in the old wooden flooring. I’m now convinced this is an urban myth, and Open House guests looking for visible relics from the Third Reich era will have to make do with the doorknobs:

 

 

We do plenty of tour guiding outside Open House weekend as well, and the next few weeks will see visits from students attending English and US universities (some of whom send regular tour and study groups to the Library every year), arts societies, London walking clubs and University of the Third Age members. If you’re interested in booking a building tour for your group, do get in touch by emailing the Library – we can host parties of up to 25 at a time, or smaller family groups if required. And all the anecdotes we’ll tell you are 100% scientifically verifiable, honest. Well, maybe 98%…

Further afield (pun intended), we’ll have a Library presence in Lincoln on 26 September, the opening day of the Gravity Fields Festival. And further down the road time-wise, we’re just starting to make plans for Library involvement in the second ‘Collections by Candlelight’ evening, following the success of last year’s pilot event. The theme will be ‘A Victorian scientific Christmas’, and the date is Thursday 6 December; it’s not on our Events diary yet, so consider this an early tip-off! But let’s not get ahead of ourselves and start thinking of Christmas (it’s waaay too early) – we hope to see you in September, at one of the above events or in the Library reading room. And don’t forget our ongoing Science made visible exhibition – you have three months to catch this one, and it’s well worth an autumn visit.