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Press release

11 JAN 2018

RICS exhibition celebrates 150 years of surveying

We have opened an exhibition to celebrate our 150th anniversary, as well as the significant contribution the surveying profession has made to local communities and the wider built environment over the past 150 years.

Shaping the World, Building the Future

The exhibition – known as Shaping the World, Building the Future – was officially opened by RICS President John Hughes FRICS and Sean Tompkins, RICS CEO, on 11 January at RICS headquarters on Parliament Square, London.

The exhibition will run throughout 2018, and highlights include a replica Penfold Post box designed by founding professional of RICS and the organisation’s first Honourable Secretary, John Wornham Penfold. The Penfold Post Box was the inspiration for the cartoon series, Danger Mouse and his sidekick Penfold. 

Meanwhile, a multi-volume Dutch world atlas  the Blaeu, Atlas Major  dated 1662 is on show comprising 594 maps, which collectively presented the state of geographic knowledge of the world in the mid-17th century.

Other highlights

A model of the Great Theodolite used by surveyor Colonel Sir George Everest around 1830 to measure the height of the highest mountain in the world, which now bears his name (Everest) is also being exhibited, along with a measurement book used by RICS professional Colonel Alan R Mais for his work on the hydrographic survey of the Mulberry Harbours in Normandy. The colonel took the measurement book on shore with him at the D-Day landings in 1944.

A lego model of the RICS headquarters  which took over 150 hours to build and 13,000 miniature bricks to construct – as well as an intricate model of the Olympic Village, are on display, joined by a 3D model of the City of London. Both showcase the integral contribution surveyors have made, and continue to make, to the built environment.

Further displays that demonstrate the role and wide range of projects surveyors often work on include a BIM model of the RICS headquarters to show how surveyors use digital technology to uphold and make necessary improvements to such a large historic building – built in 1899 – over seven floors.

"Our 150th year is the ideal time to celebrate and champion the significant value the surveying profession has on our society and the wider economy. This exhibition will do just that, as it tells a fascinating and inspiring story that really highlights the profession’s achievements, thanks to some truly one-off and remarkable exhibits that reveal the vision, innovation and outstanding talent of chartered surveyors across many sectors. A global, mobile version of the exhibition will travel across UK and global regions throughout 2018, which will also help create a better understanding of what surveyors do, the vast range of opportunities available, and inspire the next, more diverse generation into a profession that helps shape the world around us," said Sean Tompkins, RICS CEO.

Visit the RICS 150 exhibition

The Shaping the World, Building the Future exhibition – designed and delivered by Real Studios Ltd  will be refreshed with new updates throughout the year, and is open Monday to Friday 9:00-17.30.

Both professionals and non-members can visit for free (no appointment is necessary) and the exhibition is available to be booked for events by contacting 

RICS 150th anniversary: how are we celebrating?

Pride in the Profession

To celebrate our 150th milestone, we've also launched our Pride in the Profession initiative to showcase the significant and positive impact surveyors have made to society. We've already dug into the archives to find some exceptional examples. By promoting these incredible people and projects we want to demonstrate how varied and rewarding a surveying career can be. To make it happen, we need you to nominate the people and projects you admire most.

Nominate now

Pledge150: Pledge to end homelessness

We've also launched a campaign with property industry charity LandAid to raise over £2 million in the biggest ever fundraising campaign for the charity. The funds will contribute to ending youth homelessness, and will provide safe, secure and affordable bed spaces across all 12 UK regions.

Find out more