How the history of a building can influence your choice of venue

With so many different venues across the capital, it can be quite daunting searching for a venue without a brief other than an event space for 200 guests with a separate catering and exhibition space. This got our Sales Manager, Michael thinking about why historic building can play a huge part in your choice of venue.

As I’ve mentioned above, it can be quite daunting searching for a venue across the city with so much choice out there. Some clients prefer modern, new buildings, historic, bars, restaurants, central or city venues etc. The options are endless! So why choose a historic building despite all the options?

Brief history of BMA House

BMA House has a significant history to the building and has been home of the British Medical Association since 1923. The building was built by renowned architect, Sir Edwin Lutyens with the whole building having a focus on the main Courtyard.

One of the most exciting historical facts is that the site of Tavistock House was once home to Charles Dickens from 1851-1860 where he wrote Bleak House, A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations.

To add to this, each space has some form of history, the details of which our Event Planners will happily tell you when viewing the spaces for your next event.

Why does this history matter when planning an event?

The history of a venue can be important to your event because it’s more than just a meeting room or a space with some chairs and tables. It creates conversation and discussion between colleagues, friends and new connections and plus, who wouldn’t like to boast that they’ve just been to an event at the former home of Charles Dickens?! It’s creating an experience for everyone because it allows your guests to not only enjoy the lovely atmosphere of a historic space but also feel special as they too are forming a part of the history.

What challenges could I face with a historic building like BMA House?

From my years of experience, historic buildings can be very hit or miss because it could be perceived that historic buildings could be out of date, lack natural daylight or do not have the technology clients may require. I can safely say from the venues I’ve worked with, generally this is not true.

One of the areas that we are most proud of at BMA House is our AV services. Our flagship space, The Great Hall has the capacity to hold up to 6 handheld microphones, 6 lapel microphones and top table microphones. The Great Hall also has a large stage, large projector and screen, state of the art lighting and sound and remote controlled blinds, Wi-Fi and comes with a dedicated AV technician included in the cost. All our other event space hire includes a projector and screen (or plasma screen), Wi-Fi, PA system and the ability to hold up to 3 handheld microphones. On top of this, our event spaces have the capacity for Skype for Business and video conference capabilities with our on-site AV specialists on hand to help your setup in time for your event to start. We have also recently launched our virtual and hybrid packages which are available on request.

Another key area for BMA House is sustainability (yes, sustainability in a historic building!). BMA House places sustainability at the heart of everything we do, which has won us a Gold award in Green Tourism in 2017, a ‘Greenest Venue’ award in 2018 and 2019, a ‘Most Sustainable Venue’ award in 2019, silver at the London Venue Awards 2019 for ‘Best CSER or Sustainability Initiative’, and ‘Best Conference Venue’ at the Hire Space Awards. We work really hard as an events venue and as a wider organisation to keep up our fantastic ‘green’ credentials and do more than our bit for the planet. For example, we have drastically reduced our delegate carbon footprint by 69% over the past 4 years. We have also achieved a zero-landfill status and in January alone we recycled 46,760kg of waste and saved 140 trees.

Overall, I would say book a site visit of the venue or view the virtual tour of the building. You can do this with the assistance of your Event Planner at the venue so you can make sure the venue is right for your event.

Can I incorporate the history of the venue I book into my event?

It will depend on the venue but at BMA House, we encourage you to share the knowledge and history of our building and the event spaces and we even offer a historic tour with out Record and Archives team on request, in exchange for a charitable donation. Speak with your Event Planner for further information.

We look forward to welcoming you to our historic, sustainable and wonderfully warm venue soon.

Written by Michael McGowan

To enquire at BMA House for your next event, please contact our events team on 0207 874 7020 or email

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