Society of Antiquaries of London

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Project Overview

The Society of Antiquaries was founded in 1707 and today our 3,000 Fellows include many distinguished archaeologists and art and architectural historians holding positions of responsibility across the cultural heritage. As a registered charity (207237), the Society’s principal objectives are to foster public understanding of that heritage, to support research and communicate the results and to engage in the formulation of public policy on the care of our historic environment and cultural property.


When the now General Secretary – John Lewis, undertook his position it became apparent their Health and Safety practices required updating. They required somebody external to the society to review their procedures, offer advice and improvements whilst provided a sensible, workable solution.

Fire risk assessments where considered a priority, a basic level of health and safety policy documentation was in place and the Society recognised they needed assistance to ensure a safe environment for the high volume of people passing through their properties and protect their assets.

The society has two main properties:

Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, W1J 0BE

In its Burlington House apartments, the Society holds a research library and museum collections. With members regularly visiting, parties of 100+ at events and its large library health and safety is a major consideration.

Kelmscott Manor, Kelmscott, Lechlade, Glos. GL7 3HJ

Kelmscott Manor is a historic estate situated in the Cotswold. The fascinating and important collections at Kelmscott Manor span more than 300 years and reflect the history, ideas and creative legacy of those who lived and worked here. Open to the public the property has over 20,000 visitors per year.

Challenges and Solutions

It was important to the society that they could find somebody to provide sensible, pragmatic assessment and recommendations whilst understand the way the society operates and the associated constraints.


What no Safety matched the requirement and have since undertaken the following:

  • Provide the society with pragmatic/realistic advice
  • food hygiene preparation assessment for catering of events
  • develop policies
  • fire risk assessments
  • first aid training
  • fire training

Value Management

What no Safety has provided the Society with many recommendations to cost effectively manage potential issues including the following:

  1. The society has a number of rooms within the basement of the Royal Society of Chemistry (also Burlington house). When the Royal Society of Chemistry had an Asbestos assessment it became apparent that the floor tiles within the rooms contained a low level of Asbestos. What no Safety were contacted to further assess and advise on the best action to follow.
  2. Within Kelmscott Manor is a visitors shop. This is run by a member of staff that had a major operation. In order to facilitate their return to work What no Safety where asked to undertake an assessment of capabilities for the staff member and a further assessment on methods that could be employed to ease tasks such as moving stock and other lifting activities. What no Safety developed a full proposal which was adopted by the society. The member of staff is now back at work, facilitated by the improvements proposed.
  3. Kelmscott Manor – Members of the public where able to enter the property from the rear of the building however this required crossing an unsighted track that provided access for disabled visitors. What no Safety identified this as a significant risk. A proposal was put in place to install fencing that directed visitors away from the blind spot to a more convenient crossing point.


One of the most significant impacts What no Safety have had for the society is relating to the fire risk assessment. Off the back of the assessment the society where recommended to install a number of fire doors in strategic location to stop the transfer of both fire and smoke at Burlington House.

Critically this provides a much safer facility for both the protection of visitors and antiquities in their possession.

The service delivered by What No Safety has been excellent. They have provided the Society of Antiquaries with sensible and practical advice that is tailored to our environment.”

We have received excellent value for money. Our management of Health and Safety is greatly improved.

We are delighted with the work undertaken and the ongoing relationship we have with What no Safety.

John Lewis – General Secretary - Society of Antiquaries of London

What No Safety Services Ltd.