Dotted around the City of London are a number of very grand buildings, and while normally private, some are open to the public if you book a tour. These are the Livery Halls, built for the ancient city guilds, in part for guild business, but also as halls to hire out for functions.

Today the Livery Halls are still operational, and if so minded, most of the Livery Companies that own a hall will hire it out to you for corporate events, weddings and the like

However, the following companies also offer public tours of their Livery Halls:

Armourers & Brasiers’ Company

A striking Georgian building in the neo-Palladian style, it contains a host of beautiful and fascinating artefacts acquired during its long history.

Minimum number: 20 people

Cost: From £15 per person

Dates: Monday or Friday mornings from 11am but other days and times can be negotiated.

Additional notes: Tea, coffee and biscuits are provided as part of the package at the outset. Sandwiches and drinks can also be arranged at lunchtime or in the evening for groups who wish to combine a tour with a meal

website

The Carpenters’ Company

The third Hall, which still stands today, was built following an air raid in 1941. At least 18 different kinds of wood were used throughout the building, which was intended to act as a showcase for the craft of carpentry.

Minimum number: 15 people per tour

Cost: £6 per person

Dates: By enquiry.

Additional notes: Each tour lasts approximately 1 hour 30 minutes and includes refreshments.

website

The Clothworkers’ Company

Minimum number: 10 to 40 (smaller groups may be asked to combine)

Cost: Suggested donation of £100 per group.

Dates: Check website.

Additional notes: Each tour lasts approximately one hour and fifteen minutes and usually takes place on a Friday.

website

The Worshipful Company of Cutlers

Minimum number: unknown

Cost: unknown

Dates: unknown

Additional notes: Fully booked for 2019. They didn’t reply to my enquiry though.

website

The Drapers’ Company

One of the grandest of the Livery Halls, Drapers’ Hall was rebuilt in 1772 after a fire which did considerable damage and, in the 1860s, the frontage was changed and the interior altered by Herbert Williams.

Minimum number: None, but small groups will be combined into a larger one.

Cost: There is no formal charge for tours, but visitors are asked to make a donation to the Company’s charitable work.

Dates: By enquiry.

Additional notes: There are no tours between the end of July and mid-September when the Hall undergoes maintenance work.

website

The Fishmongers’ Company

A Grade I listed Hall on the north bank of the Thames at London Bridge, devastated in WW2 but restored to its former glory.

Minimum number: None, but groups can be combined to make up numbers

Cost: £15 per person

Dates: By enquiry.

Additional notes: The Hall is closed to visitors annually between the end of July and mid September for maintenance work.

website

The Goldsmiths’ Company

A large grand hall near St Paul’s Cathedral, its small doorway hides a richly decorated building.

Minimum number: None.

Cost: £5 per person

Dates: Announced on their website

Additional notes: Tours need to be booked a long time in advance as they sell out very quickly when announced. At time of writing, fully booked until 2021.

website

The Salters’ Company

A Grade II listed but very modern building with a magnificent ash paneled main hall.

Minimum number: 10 people with a max of 30 people.

Cost: Free (£5 per person if refreshments wanted)

Dates: Tues-Thur at 11am or 2pm – send them 3 suggetsed dates or months and they will confirm.

Additional notes: They do not take provisional bookings so once you have confirmed they will send you a confirmation letter.

website

The Skinners’ Company

A scheduled Ancient Monument, with an unrivalled collection of art, artefacts and historic furniture.

Minimum number: None.

Cost: £7.50

Dates: On their website, but just three tours per year – so booking now for 2020.

Additional notes: Book via their website, payment by bank transfer or cheque.

website

The Worshipful Company of Stationers and Newspaper Makers

Tours start in the neighbouring church to include the private garden, then the main livery hall rooms – including the post Great Fire of London main hall.

Minimum number: None, small numbers usually grouped into a larger tour.

Cost: £10

Dates: Check their website

Additional notes: Usually finishes with tea in the Stock Room.

website

The Tallow Chandlers Company

One of the early grand livery halls, the main hall dates from 1868, while some of the side rooms are even older. They don’t offer many tours, and usually only to organised groups.

Minimum number: Not specified, up to 25 per tour.

Cost: £6 per person (extra if refreshments are requested)

Dates: Mondays at 2pm — enquire for availability.

Additional notes: Individuals can go in, by joining a walking tour from Secret London Walking Tours

website

Mansion House

It’s not a Livery Hall in the conventional sense, but it’s built along the same lines, and offers weekly tours of the impressive grand halls where the Lord Mayor reigns supreme.

Minimum number: None.

Cost: £9.50 per person

Dates: Tuesdays at 2pm

Additional notes: Book tickets via their website directly.

website

Trinity House

Also not a Livery Hall in the conventional sense, but similar in design and worth a visit. Never used to offer tours, but now they take groups around typically twice per month.

Minimum number: None.

Cost: £10 per person

Dates: 3pm, on dates selected via their website.

Additional notes: Book tickets via their website directly.

website

Also, a number of Livery Halls are open to the public on special days. Most are open during Open House Weekend, and some during the London Festival of Architecture.

Open House Weekend

The details will vary each year, but typically the following Halls will be open over the weekend. You should either buy the guide in advance, or check their website in early August.

Apothecaries’ Hall

A courtyard building with some of the best-preserved 17C livery hall interiors, on the site of the Blackfriars Priory on which the original hall burnt down in 1666.

Carpenters’ Hall

Livery Hall first built in 1429, much altered then demolished and rebuilt in 1880, destroyed in 1941 except for external walls. Designed as a showpiece for the craft of carpentry, the third Hall on the site.

Chartered Accountants’ Hall

Late Victorian neo-Baroque building with modern-style 1970 extensions supporting 5 stories of offices over the Great Hall.

Drapers’ Hall

Livery hall first built in the 1530s, twice destroyed by fire and rebuilt (1666 & 1772). Late 19C façade and opulent Victorian interior.

Fishmongers’ Hall

Fishmongers’ Hall is a rare example of a Greek Revival town building featuring an arcaded granite base and a riverside terrace. Designed by the architect Henry Roberts (1831-5), a student of Sir Robert Smirke, the Hall’s classical simplicity is
contrasted by the magnificence of its interior rooms.

Haberdashers’ Hall

Opened by the Queen in 2002 as one of the first new livery halls in the Square Mile for nearly 40 years, this is a brick building with traditional lime mortar and handsome lead roof, standing around a peaceful courtyard. American oak panelling
and old artefacts and pictures provide internal finishes.

Stationers’ Hall

C17 livery hall with courtroom and garden. Oak panelling and stained glass windows. Only lightly damaged in WW2.

Trinity House

Fine late Georgian exterior with interior painstakingly reconstructed after destruction by incendiary bomb in 1940. Good fittings, statues and works of art from original building.

Watermen’s Hall

Only remaining Georgian Hall in the City of London, and example of domestic architecture of the period.

Wax Chandlers’ Hall

The sixth livery hall to be built on a site owned by the Company since 1501. 1958 building stands on part of 1854 hall largely destroyed in WWII. East wall recently refaced. Completely refurbished and remodelled internally 2006/7.

London Festival of Architecture 2019

Drapers- Hall – 12th June 2019 – Entry is free, book here.

Salters’ Hall – 25th June 2019 – Entry is free, seems to be just turn up.

If I missed any, add them in the comments below:

Also on ianVisits

Tagged with: ,

Whats's on in London: today or tomorrow or this weekend

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*