The Hall and Garden
In 1431, Andrew Hunte left to the Wardens tenements and land, substantially on the site of the present Hall. Hunte’s buildings became the Company’s Hall, which was developed and improved over the years. However, in common with many other livery halls, this building was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666.
The Hall was rebuilt in 1681 at a cost of some £1,500, but once again it was destroyed, this time by enemy action in December 1940. Post-war austerity meant that it was not until 1957 that planning permission for its replacement was sought; the new building, in the form in which it, happily, still stands, was completed in 1961.
It was always the aim of the Rebuilding Committee to create the quiet ease and familiarity of a country house in the teeming City of London. The extent to which they succeeded can be measured by the fact that the Hall is regarded by the Company as a tranquil oasis in the midst of the modern high-rise buildings that surround it. Nor is this feeling confined to Girdlers, for in 2002 a guest of the Master, replying for the guests, said:
“Arriving here this evening, I’m reminded – yet again – that this building takes me by surprise, a perfect little gem. Inside I love its elegance, its friendliness, its grandeur, not old – but somehow timeless….”
In 2006, the Company decided to refurbish the Hall and to add a further floor, incorporating office space for the Clerk and the Company’s administrative staff, a flat each for the Master and the Beadle, a small meeting room, and a delightful open-air piazza. Work on this project started straight after Election Day 2007 and was completed in May 2008.
The Company is also extremely proud of its garden, which regularly wins prizes in the City of London garden competitions. See London Gardens online for further details.