Celebration! Diamond Way paves the way to London’s largest Buddhist Centre

Initial design for the New London Diamond Way Buddhist Centre at the Beaufoy Institute, Lambeth

Initial design for the New London Diamond Way Buddhist Centre at the Beaufoy Institute, Lambeth

On 3 July 2012, Diamond Way Buddhism was granted Planning Permission to complete the sale of the Beaufoy Institute, 39 Black Prince Road, Lambeth. We will transform the Beaufoy into the biggest Buddhist meditation centre in central London, and brought back into use for the whole community. Our vision for the Beaufoy is one that will breathe new life into the building, preserving the heritage of the original listed building, whilst ensuring it meets the needs of the Buddhist community in London, local people in Lambeth and London as a whole (click on thumbnails below to see artists impressions of the project).

Initial design for the New London Diamond Way Buddhist Centre at the Beaufoy Institute, on Black Prince Road, LambethInitial design showing the proposed housing development behind the Beaufoy on Vauxhall StreetView from the air of the New London Diamond Way Buddhist Centre, the Beaufoy Institute

Diamond Way Buddhism worked closely with council officers as well as carrying out an extensive consultation of the local community, in an effort to bring forward plans that not only recognise the rich heritage of the important local building, but also to allow the building to welcome visitors from all walks of life.

Here are some pictures of the outside of the building taken from Black Prince Road and Vauxhall Street (click on thumbnails to enlarge):

Outside on Black Prince RoadMain entrance on Black Prince RoadSide entrance on Vauxhall StreetVauxhall Street viewRear view from Vauxhall StreetRear view from Sancroft StreetRear view of Annex buildingCorner of Black Prince Road and Vauxhall StreetFront doorBell TowerBeaufoy Institute inscription above front doorSculpture near front entrance in Black Prince Road

Below are some pictures from inside the building, showing the potential of the space, and also giving a taste for the scale of renovation works needed (click on thumbnails to enlarge):

Front door of the Beaufoy Institute seen from inside the hallwayThe first corridor on the right as you come in the Beaufoy InstituteA good view of the stained glass windows in the Beaufoy InstituteThe grand Beaufoy staircaseView towards the east of the new Buddhist centrePeeling paint in one of the classrooms of the old InstituteCorridor outside the meditation hall of the new Buddhist centre of the Beaufoy InstituteThe caretakers' flat in the Beaufoy InstituteView from the balcony into the meditation hall of the new Buddhist centreView into the meditation hall of the new Buddhist centre, showing the beautiful ceilingAmazing ceilings in what will probably be the lama flat in the new Buddhist centreOne of the classrooms of the Beaufoy Institute showing some decayInside the derelict Beaufoy InstituteA blackboard in one of the classrooms of the Beaufoy Institute, an original featureThe Beaufoy Institute has lots of natural light, which is great for a Buddhist centreLooking up at the balcony over the meditation hall in the Beaufoy InstituteThe meditation hall has a very high ceilingThe white walls of the Beaufoy Institute contrast perfectly with the black beamsThe ceiling of the main hall looks like a Buddhist mandalaThe main hall of the Beaufoy Institute facing southThe best view of the hall where many Buddhists will meditate

We are incredibly grateful to all our friends for the many, many, many, many, many good wishes over recent years. As you can see, there is a lot of work to be done, and we will need your continued good wishes and support in whatever way you can in the coming months and years, whether it be financial, skilled work, heavy lifting, clearing out the clutter, or finer work to renovate and decorated inside.

Lama Ole Nydahl had the following to say upon hearing the news:


Tens of thousands of Buddhists in 620 centres worldwide today praise the UK and the honourable Lambeth Council for the decision on the Beaufoy Institute on the evening of 3 July. We promise to make it into a cultural jewel for the benefit of many.

In connection with the purchase, some questions came up that should be clarified here. We are Buddhists and as such humanists. Politically all are of course free to make any choices but we naturally attract those with a wide and historic worldview.

Being responsible democrats in whichever country, Diamond Way Buddhists observe historic events and the values held by different cultures and societies, and see the freedoms and human development they promise for our children and future societies.

But being Buddhists, we know that everybody’s mind, the mirror behind the images, is clear light. All therefore have Buddha nature and may for this reason be led to a positive view.

Thank you again and if you can come to give a helping hand – in the restoration or with the economy – we shall be able to do more soon.

In the name of the Karma Kagyu Diamond Way,

Yours Lama Ole Nydahl

Over the last months, many of our visiting teachers have already been given tours of the Beaufoy building, including Pedro Gomez, Tomek Lehnert, Marta Kessler, Wojtek Tracewski and Manfred Seegers. The pictures below were taken in November 2011 when Lama Ole Nydahl visited London.

Lama Ole arrives at the BeaufoyLama Ole arrives at the BeaufoyLama Ole arrives at the BeaufoyLama Ole and Caty inside the Beaufoy with friendsThe architects present their ideas to Lama OleLama Ole is shown around the Beaufoy by one of the project architectsLama Ole is shown around the Beaufoy by one of the project architectsLama Ole, Caty and friends are shown the plans to transform the BeaufoyLama Ole and friends outside the Beaufoy InstituteLama Ole, Caty and friends outside the BeaufoyLama Ole and friends outside the BeaufoyLama Ole and Caty on top of the Beaufoy

As interfaith collaboration was key to the fantastic result, we will continue to strengthen the links with all the religious communities represented in Lambeth, and make the new property a suitable vessel for promoting peace and harmonious relations in the community, in the spirit of wisdom which the Beaufoy Institute embodies. We look forward to adding further richness and diversity to the current Buddhist offers in Lambeth and Vauxhall, and anticipate much fruitful cooperation in the coming years.

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2 Responses to “Celebration! Diamond Way paves the way to London’s largest Buddhist Centre”

  1. Kim Saxton says:

    Dear old friends from London,

    Well I only just heard news of this and came immediately here to see pictures and read this great blog. It has been I think around 7 years since I left London and remember our struggles back then in attempts to find a new place and heard the many stories since. Am totally chuffed to hear the news and so pleased for you all and wow what potential this place has! Love the big arches, grand entrance, big old style windows and massive space.

    The persistence and endurance through many obstacles, near misses, troubles over a long time to find a suitable place reminds me of the stories of the likes of Naropa, Marpa, Milerepa etc in their quest to get the teachings and practice them for the benefit of all. It is really inspiring and wish you all the best for coming hard work in restoration and renovations.

    All best wishes from retreat in NZ

  2. Dee Gee says:

    I recently cycled past this building while scouting for empty locations for filming. I spoke briefly with the security guard there who said he thought it was being demolished – something I was astonished by, hence my internet search and ending up here. I’m so glad to find that the building will be put to good use after all. Good luck with the redevelopment.

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