Somerset House Transforms from Tax Office to Key Cultural Hub in Less Than Two Decades



The major complex was initially designed in 1775 for George III’s growing civil service and naval administration, later used as a tax office, a car part, and finally given over to Londoners as a prime location for culture and entertainment in 2000.

The director of Somerset House, Jonathan Reekie, has worked to expand its purview. He comments, “There is a move towards a much more interdisciplinary conversation for artists, whom came out of the digital revolution. Audiences are looking for different, more interactive experiences.”

Currently, a cultural hub for art, fashion, music, and food, the Somerset House attracts London’s most creative pleasure-seekers. It has served as a film set for Goldeneye, Sherlock Holmes, and Downtown Abbey.

The Somerset House plans to reopen on November 14, making way for Londoners to swarm to the festive location to skate, shop, and enjoy different food this Christmas season. Over the summer this year, the location entertained Film4 Summer Screen’s outdoor film series, which highlighted a special screening of The Wife, introduced by Glenn Close herself.

Somerset House currently gets the same number of visitors, £3.2 million a year, as its rival across the Thames, Southbank Centre.



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