Merchant Taylors' Hall
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1002029
Date first listed: 01-May-1952
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
County: Greater London Authority
District: City and County of the City of London (London Borough)
National Grid Reference: TQ 32973 81189, TQ 32998 81172
Merchant Taylors’ Hall, 82m NNW of St Peter upon Cornhill Church
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 later alterations and part-restoration, Merchant Taylors’ Hall survives well, retaining a significant amount of the original medieval fabric of the building as well as some impressive architectural details. It will retain archaeological and environmental information relating to the earlier medieval hall on the site. It is one of the earliest surviving examples of a livery hall and provides a significant testament to the development of commercial activity and trade regulation in the city of London.
This 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. This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 24 March 2015.
The monument includes a medieval livery hall, dating from the 14th century but partly rebuilt or altered in the late 17th century, the late 19th century and the mid 20th century. It is situated between Threadneedle Street and Cornhill in the city of London.
The entrance to the Hall is from No. 32 Threadneedle Street, an early 20th century addition which is not included in the scheduling. The livery hall behind is centred on a paved garden and courtyard and incorporates medieval walling, a crypt and kitchen. The Crypt was formerly part of a late 14th century chapel that adjoined the east end of the hall. It is two bays long with a ribbed vault and carved corbels. The Great Kitchen is to the south of the Crypt and dates from the early 15th century with alterations in the 17th, 19th and 20th centuries. It is built of rubble walling patched with brick. On the north side are three four-centred archways and some 17th century segmental arched windows. There is an arched doorway in the east wall, blocked windows to the south and west, and two fireplaces. The roof timbers are supported by moulded corbels. The west range of the Hall dates to the 17th century. It is two-storeys high and constructed of brick with recessed sash windows. The south and east ranges of the Hall, which are late 19th century additions in Gothic style, are not included in the scheduling. The Hall retains preserved sections of the original floors in a cavity accessible through a trapdoor. The remains include part of the 14th century floor of beaten clay, the red tile floor of 1646 and the marble and Purbeck stone floor dating from 1675.
The Worshipful Company of Merchant Taylors gained their first Royal Charter in 1503 and are one of the Twelve Great Livery Companies. The Hall was built on the current site at some point between 1347 and 1392. The roof was rebuilt between 1586 and 1588, but destroyed along with much of the interior during the Great Fire of London. It was rebuilt in 1670 incorporating the surviving medieval walls, Great Kitchen and Crypt. The south and east ranges were added in the 19th century and the Hall was restored in the 1950s after bomb damage suffered during the Second World War.
Merchant Taylors’ Hall is listed at Grade II*.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: LO 39
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
NMR TQ38SW832. PastScape 405355. LBS 199764, 199765
This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
End of official listing