Imperial College

170 Queen's Gate

170 Queen’s Gate

170 Queen's Gate, South Kensington, in 1900
Architect: Richard Norman Shaw (1831-1912)
Photographer: Unknown
Copyright: RIBA Library Photographs Collection


170 Queen's Gate is one of a number of houses the architect Richard Norman Shaw designed along this prestigious London street. Today it is the Rector's House at Imperial College. It also serves as a meeting venue and is available for private hire.

Frederick Anthony White

The house, which was completed in 1889, was commissioned by Frederick Anthony White, a wealthy cement manufacturer with an interest in art and architecture. The White family crest sits proudly above the front door, and the initials of White and his wife can be seen on the rainwater heads on the south façade.

The red brick house with its stone dressings is an important example of English domestic architecture of the period. It follows loosely the style which Shaw became internationally famous for, the Queen Anne Style. However, it does not have the overtly characteristic Queen Anne motifs which Shaw employed nearby at Lowther Lodge.

Acquisition by Imperial College

170 Queen's Gate changed hands a number of times before it was acquired by Imperial College in 1947. It was then altered slightly by Sir Hubert Worthington, consultant architect to the college, to adapt it to the college's needs.

Its future was threatened in the 1950s and 1960s when Imperial College was looking to radically expand and rebuild. Another nearby Shaw-designed house, 180 Queen's Gate was demolished to make way for new buildings, as was the nearby Imperial Institute. However, fortunately Shaw's houses at 170 and 196 Queen's Gate were saved, and today number 170 remains a key part of the college's estate.