116 years of the IoD – a trip down Pall Mall’s memory lane

116 IoD
116 Pall Mall is the home of the Institute of Directors (IoD), which celebrates its 116th birthday this year. Both the organisation and the venue have enjoyed remarkable histories...

To mark the occasion, we’ve delved into the history books to look back at some of the key events from the period, starting in 1903 when the IoD held its very first meeting...

1903 - Twenty-three leading businessmen create the first council of the Institute of Directors, headquarted in Moorgate Place. You can thank the IoD’s first President, Lord Avebury, for the reason why there are so many bank holidays each year - described as ‘an eccentric banker,’ he is best known for introducing the Bank Holidays Act of 1871. He also clamped down on backstreet dentists, proved that bees could see in colour and was good friends with Charles Darwin.

1906 - The IoD is awarded its Royal Charter in 1906 and begins lobbying Parliament on company legislation. The Royal Charter remains an acknowledgement of the continuing work the IoD does to promote professionalism in business.

1940 – Before becoming home to the IoD, 116 Pall Mall is home to the United Service Club (USC), and exiled Norwegian monarch King Haakon regularly meets his officers in the club’s Smoking Room (which has since become The Directors Room) to plan strategy during World War II. Following the war, Haakon begins the annual tradition of Norway sending a Christmas tree as a thank-you gift to the UK, which continues to light up Trafalgar Square in December.

1977 – The USC falls on hard times and is declared insolvent. In fact, a number of private clubs in Central London were struggling to make ends meet as the country had been in the grip of a recession during the mid-70s. The members and staff walk out one night never to return and the building rapidly declines into a state of disrepair.

Ghandi filmed at 116 Pall Mall 1982

1978 - The IoD moves into 116 Pall Mall. One of the conditions of the sale is that the building must retain the USC’s original fixtures and fittings. The third floor becomes home to around 20 guest rooms before later being transformed into the Business Centre.

1982 - With the building restored to its former glory, 116 Pall Mall is featured in the Oscar-winning epic film Gandhi. A scene is filmed in the Nash Room, which is used to depict the Viceroy’s office in India.

1985 - Award-winning graphic designer Alan Fletcher is commissioned by the IoD to create a new logo. His iconic design lives on to this day and the graces the flag that flies outside 116 Pall Mall. His other famous works include logos for Reuters and the Victoria & Albert Museum. The Daily Telegraph hailed Fletcher "the most highly regarded graphic designer of his generation.”

MargareThatcher eulogy for Ronald Reagan filmed at 116 Pall Mall

1999 - The IoD launches the world’s first independently accredited qualification for directors. It is still the only institute in the world to offer the internationally recognised Chartered Director qualification, underpinned by its Royal Charter.

2004 – Margaret Thatcher has her eulogy for the late US President Ronald Reagan filmed in the Burton Room.

2008 – 116 Pall Mall hosts the first IoD Women in Business Conference. The same year, a scene from the Hollywood blockbuster movie The Dark Knight is filmed in The Brasserie .

2013 - 116 Pall Mall is the venue for bilateral trade talks between the Chancellor of Exchequer, George Osborne and China’s vice premier, Wang Qishan.

116 academy meeting

2015 - The dining areas and Members’ Lounges undergo a redesign and refurbishment as the venue caters for the changing needs of modern businesses and their leaders.

2016 - The IoD hosts a heated London Mayoral Debate between Zac Goldsmith and current Mayor Sadiq Khan in the Nash Room.

2017 - The IoD Academy opens on the fourth floor of 116 Pall Mall as a purpose-built, state-of-the-art learning destination for business leaders.

Pakistan fashion week

2018 - 116 Pall Mall hosts Open House, a three-day convention that marks a departure from anything the IoD has done before. Karren Brady CBE, Tanni Grey-Thompson, Leon co-founder Henry Dimbleby and Brompton Bikes MD Will Butler-Adams feature among the dozens of guest speakers.

2019 - As part of Pakistan Fashion Week, 116 Pall Mall hosts a ground-breaking fashion show in the Nash Room that attracts coverage around the world and features Britain’s first transgender Muslim drag queen.

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