Prince Charles praises British Council's 'impressive' new Stratford HQ
- Credit: Daniel Gayne
The Prince of Wales has visited the new Stratford headquarters of the British Council.
Prince Charles, who has been vice-patron of the cultural organisation for more than three decades, paid a visit to its offices in Redman Place, into which it moved in the summer of 2020.
Arriving shortly after noon on Thursday, October 28 and joking to the crowd who greeted his arrival – “are they waiting for their lunch?” – the Prince was shown around the building and introduced to representatives from a number of British Council-sponsored projects.
He began his tour by speaking with artists involved with the “housewarming” scheme; a series of creative residencies which saw local and international artists collaborate to produce work for display at 1 Redman Place.
The Prince met four members of creative workshops in east London involved in the scheme, including Sofia Niazi from Rabbit Road Press, a Risograph print studio in Manor Park.
Sofia managed a project in which Lahore-based designer and illustrator Shehzil Malik worked with three Newham locals to produce three large-scale tapestries, as well as a wallpaper design which combined Persian and Arabic script with William Morris-inspired imagery.
“It's incredible because we have never worked at this scale,” said Sofia, who saw the real-life pieces for the first time during the Prince’s visit.
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“They are a lot bigger than I thought,” she added.
The Prince visited the suite in which Shehzil’s artwork was installed to participate in a virtual English class with a group of international students from six countries.
As part of his visit, he also unveiled the building’s new Prince of Wales suite.
In a speech, he joked that the former building had been “frightfully convenient” in its position near Buckingham Palace, but said he was struck by the “impressive environmental credentials” of the British Council’s new home.
He also addressed the need to “bury our differences in order to save our planet”, ahead of the COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow, saying he understood the “frustration and despair” of young people.
During his visit, he spoke to representatives of a number of British Council-sponsored projects relating to climate change.
These included young “green scholars” from the Climate Connection scheme; Cultural Protection Fund workers; and – via live link – pupils at schools in Edinburgh and Nepal, who told the Prince about their own efforts to combat climate change.