Main Image Credit Theo Wood | Official reopening of 61 Whitehall by HRH The Duke of Kent
On Monday 23 October, His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent, President of RUSI, visited the Institute to officially reopen its renovated 61 Whitehall offices following a major £12.2m redevelopment.
During his visit, The Duke unveiled a crest stone in RUSI’s central lobby to commemorate the sacrifices of Commonwealth soldiers. HRH also unveiled a plaque in RUSI’s Sir Naim Dangoor Hall, celebrating the official reopening of the Institute’s historic home at 61 Whitehall.
Its reopening marks the culmination of a three-year, £13.5 million fundraising initiative and project to renovate the Victorian era building.
The successful completion of the renovation has provided RUSI with the space within which to convene industry, government and media stakeholders and to lead the debate on contemporary security, defence and geopolitics.
61 Whitehall’s state-of-the-art facilities will expand the Institute’s ability to produce incisive and impactful research on critical global challenges. The building’s location – in the centre of Whitehall – will also enable even more direct and frequent engagement with policymakers, supporting informed decision-making on questions of national and international significance.
Sir David Lidington, RUSI’s Chair said:
On behalf of the entire Institute, I would like to thank His Royal Highness, The Duke of Kent for his support of RUSI and for marking the official reopening of our 61 Whitehall offices, in his role as RUSI’s President. I also want to take this opportunity to reflect on the incredible generosity of all those supporters whose investment in RUSI’s future has made this renovation and reopening possible.
The Rt Hon Sir David Lidington KCB CBE
Claire Horton CBE, Director General of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission said:
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission are honoured to provide RUSI with a new crest stone memorial, commemorating the sacrifices of Commonwealth soldiers. The new memorial unveiled by HRH the Duke of Kent stands as a poignant tribute, reminding us of the profound courage of those who served. In the corridors of RUSI, where history meets contemporary challenges, I hope this memorial encapsulates and further inspires RUSI’s ongoing efforts towards building a safer and more stable world.
Claire Horton CBE
Director General of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission
About RUSI and 61 Whitehall
The Royal United Services Institute has been at the heart of military and security thinking for over 190 years, with a mission to generate evidence-based and independent debate on questions of security and defence. Established by the Duke of Wellington and other senior military commanders in 1831, the Institute underwent its first major refurbishment in 1996. In 2021, the redevelopment of RUSI’s main building at 61 Whitehall began, with the aim of adding another floor and expanding facilities for members and conferences.
To cover the cost of the redevelopment of 61 Whitehall, Sir Mick Davis led a capital fundraising appeal for Phase One. This successfully raised £10 million. The interest of donors was significant and as a result, RUSI ran a Phase Two for the appeal, to raise an additional £3.5 million, to cover all costs of the redevelopment and to provide valued funds for the Institute. In Summer 2023, the Institute confirmed that all £13.5 million had been raised.
In recognition of some of the donations received, some rooms have been named (not necessarily in the names of the donor). The Institute’s building is pleased to have named the Sir Naim Dangoor Hall, the Max Kelly Room, the Chris Rokos Room, The Admiral Lord Cochrane Room, The Michael Scherb Room and the General David Petraeus Dome. The ground floor has been named by the Law Family Charitable Foundation.
RUSI is also hugely grateful for donations received from Christen Ager-Hanssen, The Bacon Foundation, Nick Clarke, Sir Mick Davis, The Drake Foundation, Google, The John Gore Foundation, The Hintze Family Charitable Foundation, The Michael and Sarah Spencer Foundation, The Starr International Foundation, His Grace the Duke of Wellington, The Garfield Weston Foundation and a number of anonymous and very generous donors.
About the Commonwealth War Graves Commission
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s mission is to ensure those who died in service, or as a result of conflict, are commemorated so that they, and the human cost of war, are remembered for ever.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission is a global leader in commemoration. Founded by Royal Charter in 1917, we work on behalf of the Governments of Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, South Africa and the United Kingdom to commemorate the 1.7 million men and women from the Commonwealth who lost their lives in the two World Wars.
We believe that remembering individuals who have died in conflicts is of universal, perpetual relevance, and that reflecting on their deaths is of continuing and paramount importance for us all.
The cemeteries, memorials, graves, landscapes, and records in our care will be found at 23,000 locations and in more than 150 countries and territories. They are both the practical means of our commemoration of the fallen and vehicles for discovery, inspiration, and engagement.
We believe that each one of those we commemorate were people like us, with their own ambitions, hopes, and dreams. It is our duty and privilege to care for their graves and memorials and through our charitable Foundation, keep their stories alive.