Our story

Canning House has worked to build understanding and relationships between the United Kingdom, Latin America and Iberia since 1943. Learn more about the organisation's fascinating, 80-year history. 

George Canning


George Canning, after whom Canning House is named, was Foreign Secretary from 1807 – 1809 and again from 1822 – 1827, which were crucial times in the Wars of Independence which took place in Latin America from the first uprisings in Argentina in 1810 to the recognition of Uruguay in 1828.

Canning saw the advantages of British support for the emerging republics, partly to counter-balance the United States with its Monroe Doctrine in 1823 and partly to maintain a political balance in Europe following the Napoleonic Wars.

Referring to this, in one of his most famous quotations, Canning declared: "I called the New World into existence, to redress the balance of the Old."

George Canning's signature

No. 2, Belgrave Square

No. 2, Belgrave Square forms part of a grand terrace dating from the 1820s, in the heart of London’s diplomatic centre, flanked by embassies and high commissions.

Canning House took on the lease to the property in 1953, and the address subsequently become synonymous with the organisation.

Statues of Columbus, Henry the Navigator, Simón Bolívar and José de San Martín in the square acknowledge the importance of the Luso-Hispanic world, and in many ways the UK’s contribution to a part of the world which George Canning supported wholeheartedly in its drive towards independence.

Canning House would remain in No. 2 until 2013. Its offices are now housed at 50 Broadway, in Westminster.


Canning House: The History

by Tim Connell

Through extensive interviewing and archival research, Professor Tim Connell has uncovered new information and insights that give a full picture of Canning House’s multi-faceted approach to building understanding and relationships between the UK, Latin America and Iberia.

2018. ISBN 978-1-9165047-0-7.

About the Author

Professor Tim Connell

An honorary life fellow of Gresham College, Professor Tim Connell is an Emeritus Foundation professor from City University, where he sat on Senate for many years. He has had an association with Canning House for over forty years, ever since as a young researcher he found two crucial texts about Mexico sitting side by side in the Canning House Library. 

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Canning House: The History

Canning House: The History

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The Canning Lecture

Held since 1997, the Canning Lecture has been delivered by a visiting Latin American or Iberian President or Head of Government in the United Kingdom. It takes place roughly annually.

The Canning Lecture is one of the most high-profile such events in the UK, and a unique opportunity to hear from and engage directly with a current Latin American or Iberian leader.

Previous Canning Lectures have been delivered by Head of State including Fernando Henrique Cardoso (1997), Carlos Menem (1999), Michelle Bachelet (2008 and 2016), Pedro Passos Coelho (2013), Iván Duque (2019) and Luis Lacalle Pou (2022).

For the latest information on upcoming Canning Lectures, please see our Events section. To be among the first to hear, consider an Individual or Corporate Membership.

The Canning Medal in a presentation box.

The Canning Medal

The Canning Medal was introduced in 2013 in commemoration of Canning House’s 70th anniversary. It is not awarded every year, and is exclusively reserved for distinguished persons who have contributed significantly to the strengthening of UK-Latin American relations. It has been awarded five times:

Viscount Montgomery of Alamein CMG CBE, 2013

In addition to a long and active service as Honorary President and Chairman of Canning House, Viscount Montgomery was an energetic promoter of Latin America in business and parliament.

Dr Enrique García Rodríguez, 2016

Dr Enrique García Rodríguez was President of Corporación Andina de Fomento (CAF) 1997-2017, and is an Honorary Vice-President of Canning House.

HE Ambassador Iván Romero Martínez, 2018

HE Iván Romero, the Ambassador of Honduras and Dean of the Diplomatic Corps in London, received the Canning Medal as Dean of the Latin American Diplomatic Corps.

Lord Garel-Jones, 2018

A lifelong Hispanophile, Lord Garel-Jones was responsible for the organisation of John Major's 1992 visit to Colombia, the first visit to South America by a British Prime Minister.

Baroness Hooper CMG, 2022

Lady Hooper has been a lifelong advocate for Latin America in the United Kingdom, and continues to visit the region in regular delegations. She has been an Honorary Vice-President of Canning House since 2002.

The Canning House Library Collection

at King's College London

The Canning House Library was launched in 1948 and was recognised for many years as a key source of information on the Latin world, attracting over three thousand users a year. It continues to be one of the most important collections in the UK for Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies.

In 2012 the bulk of the collection (some 54,000 titles) was transferred to King’s College London. With the Foreign Office Collection, the Canning House material provides a significant source of complementary information for a wide range of users. It is managed by a special joint Board and is accessible to Canning House members on request.

Discover our collection

Becoming a member at Canning House

By joining Canning House, you will become part of the UK's leading forum for informed comment, contacts and debate on Latin American politics, economics and business.

Just £50 per year.

Join now

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