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Princess Royal opens IET London Savoy Place following £30m refurb

The venue hosted Princess Anne as it celebrated its official reopening after £30m of redevelopments

Pictured: The Princess Royal sealed a time capsule containing school childrens’ predictions of the technology of the future

IET London: Savoy Place hosted Princess Anne as it celebrated its official reopening. The venue reopened for events earlier this year after two years of redevelopments costing £30 million.

The renovations have resulted in two new auditoriums with a combined capacity of more than 600, a second lecture theatre, enlarged riverside suite, boardrooms, roof terrace, and a ‘sesame lift’ at the front of the building, which enables the stone steps to retract automatically for easy wheelchair access.

The Princess Royal, who is an honorary member of the IET, was at the venue to seal a time capsule containing school childrens’ predictions of the technology we will see in 50 years’ time. 

The predictions, from children across the country, included: 

- Robots that do chores, housework and read minds
- An indestructible rocket that can travel to space and a space village 
- Credit cards under the skin and instant shopping
- Cars that can time travel, fly and turn into jets
- Roads and bridges that repair themselves with a self-healing material
- A microchip to fight cancer  
- Sunglasses that can record anything you see

The capsule also contained artefacts marking the past, present and future of technology. 

IET president Jeremy Watson said: “Engineering and technology is all around us – it’s at the heart of almost everything we do and this is an extraordinary and exciting time for our profession. However, if we want engineering to continue to keep advancing society and economic growth, we need to inspire the next generation. This activity has been a brilliant way to get children thinking about the future of engineering – as well as demonstrating to them how creative engineering can be.”

The Princess Royal also unveiled a plaque and met IET members, volunteers and staff on a tour of the building that included the Faraday Centre, and the Riverside Room. IET London: Savoy Place includes exhibitions and engineering spaces that celebrate and highlight the history of the IET, as well as the future of engineering.

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