Goldsmiths’ Hall, 95m SSE of the Church of St Anne and St Agnes.
Reasons for Designation
A livery hall is a type of guildhall belonging primarily to the London livery companies (chartered companies originating from the craft guilds), but also found elsewhere in the country. It is so called because of the livery worn by members of the guild. Guildhalls were traditionally the hall of a crafts, trade, or merchants’ guild but latterly had many different functions and became recognised in the 19th century as town halls. Some livery or guild halls were built in the medieval period but they became more widespread in the 17th and 18th centuries. The classic form was often a first-floor meeting room, raised on arcades, incorporating an open-sided market hall on the ground floor. They also often included administrative rooms or offices.
During the eighteenth century increasing architectural elaboration was given to halls, reflecting the success of livery companies, the growth of municipal self-awareness and urban identity.
Until the Municipal Corporations Reform Act in 1835, boroughs (corporations), which were often based at guildhalls, acted as private bodies that existed for the benefit of their members rather than the community at large. The Act reformed the administration and accountability of incorporated boroughs and they subsequently gained greater municipal power and responsibility. This was reflected in the scale and architectural adornment of later guildhalls, which became high points of Victorian public architecture.
Despite some alterations and damage during the Second World War, Goldsmiths’ Hall is a fine example of a mid-19th century livery hall, which survives well. It is a significant testament to the development of commercial activity and trade regulation in the city of London. Additionally, the site will provide information about the earlier mansion and hall and is known to contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to Roman London.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 9 October 2014. The record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.
The monument includes an early 19th century livery hall situated between Gresham Street and Carey Lane, south of London Wall in the city of London. It was built between 1829 and 1835 to the design of Philip Hardwick and is a detached three storey building of Portland stone on a Haytor granite plinth. The main (west) façade is of 11 window bays with a central portico of 6 Corinthian columns on a high pedestal. The first floor windows have pediments and the central five include balconies on brackets with elaborate carvings above. The north and south fronts are of seven window bays with four pilasters at the centre. The rear of the building is an irregular design with five round arched windows on the first floor. The interior includes an ornate staircase, hall and north front room.
The Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths is one of the Twelve Great Livery Companies of the City of London and received its first royal charter in 1327. The company has been located at the current site since about 1366. The first hall was the former mansion of Nicholas de Segrave and the current building is the third such hall on the site. The south-west corner of the hall suffered damage during the Second World War and was restored from 1947 by C H James and in 1953 by R E Enthoven, A F Westmore and F Billerey. Further alteration and refurbishment were carried out in 1989-90. In 1830, during the construction of the hall a Roman altar with a figure of the goddess Diana in relief was found at about 4.5m below ground level. Roman masonry was also found and it is possible that it is the site of a Roman temple. The archaeological and environmental remains on the site are included within the scheduling.
Goldsmiths’ Hall is Grade I listed.