Bloomberg’s new European headquarters in London sits upon one of the most important archaeological sites in the U.K., the ancient Roman Temple of Mithras. This temple once stood in the centre of Londinium – the settlement founded by the Romans on the banks of the River Thames nearly 2,000 years ago.
During planning for our building’s construction, we made a commitment to restore this ancient site and make it publicly accessible for visitors to experience the rich history of London.
As a result, London Mithraeum Bloomberg SPACE was born. A free cultural destination underneath the new Bloomberg London office that showcases the reconstructed Temple of Mithras, more than 600 remarkable Roman artefacts uncovered during recent excavations, and a series of rotating contemporary art commissions that respond to the site’s history.
The project took almost ten years to complete and was funded and created by our founder Michael Bloomberg. To bring his vision to life, we worked closely with the City of London and a team of conservation specialists, in consultation with MOLA (Museum of London Archaeology), as well as a team of skilled architects, designers and artists.
“Bloomberg is very much the custodian of this plot of land. We’re creating threads between history and future generations. And as you would expect from Bloomberg, we’re embracing both tradition but also innovation and creativity,” says Jemma Read, Head of Philanthropy and Engagement in EMEA and APAC.
As part of our education and outreach with the local community, volunteers from London Mithraeum Bloomberg SPACE and our employees volunteering through Bloomberg Startup work with students aged 7-11 to help them understand the archaeological significance of this site during the Roman London period.
During the excavation, the quantity and quality of the artefacts found has enabled archaeologists to bring the early Roman town of Londinium to life in extraordinary detail. London Mithraeum Bloomberg SPACE displays a collection of these artefacts to give visitors an idea of life in Roman London 2,000 years ago.
Since London Mithraeum Bloomberg SPACE opened in November 2017, educational sessions have been hosted by professional educators in collaboration with Bloomberg volunteers for 432 pupils. In addition, London Mithraeum Bloomberg SPACE recently had its 50,000th visitor: Alfayd Adedapo, a student from our Bloomberg Startup partner school, Petchey Academy. He and his classmates were visiting the cultural hub following an educational workshop conducted by Bloomberg TV anchor Caroline Hyde.
Seven metres below the streets of modern London, at Roman ground level, the immersive temple reconstruction uses carefully directed lights, haze and sound to bring the temple’s remains to life and evoke the rituals and activities that took place within its cave-like walls.
“Visiting the Mithraeum was a very different experience. Hearing the unusual sounds and learning about the site’s artefacts has really helped me understand how the Romans lived. It was fascinating to discover they worshipped so many gods, and used temples like this for their sacrificial rituals,” says Alfayd.
London Mithraeum Bloomberg SPACE embodies Bloomberg’s commitment to investing in our communities for future generations. For information and details about visiting, see: www.londonmithraeum.com. We will be hosting a free Museums at Night family event featuring children’s author Caroline Lawrence on May 17 in collaboration with MOLA. Bloomberg SPACE will unveil its second contemporary art installation in June.
Bloomberg Startup is the company’s global education engagement programme offering year-round mentoring and a series of technical and leadership workshops to support academic achievement and college and career readiness for the next generation of leaders. Startup also provides internship and scholarship opportunities for high-achieving high school and college students from our non-profit education partners around the world.