Livery hall, offices and flats for the Worshipful Company of Founders, of 1984-1990 by J. Sampson (Sam) Lloyd of Green, Lloyd and Adams.
Reasons for Designation
Founders’ Hall, 1984-1990, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* as a distinctive and nuanced late-C20 reinterpretation of a livery hall, its architectural design fusing neo-Vernacular historicism, Arts and Crafts influences with Post-Modern wit and extravagance;
* for its quality of craftsmanship and construction, detailed with rigour and consistency.
* as an important work by Sam Lloyd, the third generation of the London-based architectural practice founded by his grandfather W Curtis Green in 1898;
* the history of the Worshipful Company of Founders, a City livery company of medieval origin, is reflected in the predominance of bespoke metal fittings and the incorporation of elements from the Company’s previous halls.
* with the Church of St Bartholomew the Great (Grade I) and the Hand and Shears Public House (Grade II) which frame the island site.
Post-Modernism, a movement and a style prevalent in architecture between about 1975 and 1990, is defined in terms of its relationship with modern architecture. Post-Modernist architecture is characterised by its plurality, engagement with urban context and setting, reference to older architectural traditions and use of metaphor and symbolism. As a formal language it has affinities with mannerism (unexpected exaggeration, distortions of classical scale and proportion) and the spatial sophistication of Baroque architecture. Post-Modernism accepts the technology of industrialised society but expresses it in more diverse ways than the machine imagery of the contemporary High-Tech style.
The origins of the style are found in the United States, notably in the work of Robert Venturi and Charles Moore which combined aspects of their country’s traditions (ranging from the C19 Shingle Style to Las Vegas) with the knowing irony of pop art. A parallel European stream combined an abstracted classicism or a revival of 1930s rationalism with renewed interest in the continental city and its building types. In England, the American and European idioms converged in the late 1970s, to produce works by architects of international significance, including James Stirling, and distinctive voices unique to Britain such as John Outram. The 1980s revival of the British economy was manifested in major urban projects by Terry Farrell and others in London, while practices such as CZWG devised striking imagery for commercial and residential developments in Docklands and elsewhere. A particular element of the British strand of Post-Modernism was a focus on context and an interest in reprising historical architectural forms in new designs, as is exemplified in buildings of the period by Green, Lloyd and Adams, of which Founders’ Hall is a notable example.
The Worshipful Company of Founders, a livery company of the City of London for founders or workers of brass and bronze, is first recorded in 1365 and was incorporated under a Royal Charter in 1614. Their first hall was built on land purchased in 1531 at the site today known as Founders’ Court at Lothbury. Destroyed in the Great Fire, the hall was rebuilt in 1669-1672 and again in 1844-1845, to designs of J B Gardiner. In 1878 the Company moved to a new site on 13 St Swithin’s Lane, designed by George Aitchison Jr, while leasing out their old site. This building contained offices and shops in addition to the hall proper.
In 1964 the Company sold the freehold of their Lothbury property in order to fund the modernisation of their hall at St Swithin’s Lane. However, the latter site remained too small to host full livery dinners, which had to be held at the Mansion House or at other livery halls. In the early 1980s the Company sold 13 St Swithin’s Lane and purchased the present site on Cloth Fair, in 1983 commissioning Green Lloyd and Adams to design a new hall, offices and flats. Construction started on the development in 1984, was completed in 1986 and the Company’s fifth hall was officially opened in October 1987 by the City’s Lord Mayor. A second phase to the south containing additional offices and flats was completed in 1990 (numbers 39-40); this formed part of the original Green Lloyd and Adams scheme but was always distinct from the ceremonial spaces of the hall and is held under separate ownership. Between 2011 and 2013 internal remodelling was undertaken and the southern section was converted to provide nine residential flats.
Green, Lloyd and Adams was a successor practice to that founded by Sam Lloyd’s maternal grandfather, William Curtis Green (1875–1960). Curtis Green commenced practice in 1898 and for a period supervised the office of Edwin Lutyens, a close friend of his, while he was at New Delhi. In 1927 he formed a partnership with his son, Christopher, and his son-in-law, Antony Lloyd (Sam Lloyd’s father). While he completed many domestic and restoration projects, Curtis Green was best known for commercial commissions in central London, his work included Wolseley House (1922–1923; Grade II*) the Westminster Bank on Piccadilly (1926–1927; Grade II), the Dorchester Hotel in Park Lane (1930-1931; Grade II) and the Curtis Green building for Scotland Yard on the Embankment (1935–1940). After his death the practice was continued as Green Lloyd and Son, changing to Green, Lloyd, and Adams in 1970 with the addition of B L (Beak) Adams in 1970. After Adams’ retirement in 1984 the firm reverted to Green Lloyd Architects. The practice was dissolved in 1993 on the retirement of Sam Lloyd.
Sam Lloyd (1930–2009) was born in Chiswick and studied architecture at the Cambridge University School of Architecture and the Regent Street Polytechnic School of Architecture. In 1954 he joined the family firm; gradually establishing himself as its principal designer. His work for the firm combined his modern movement training with the arts and crafts sensibilities of Lutyens and his father, Antony Lloyd. His projects included a regional headquarters for Barclays bank in Manchester (1965), headquarters for BOC (British Oxygen Company) at Hammersmith (1975) and 1 Porchester Gate (1980). Founders’ Hall is one of a number of institutional commissions completed by the practice in the 1980s and 1990s, including the conversion of the north wing of Somerset House for the Courtauld Institute of Art (completed 1989), the Apothecaries’ Hall on Black Friars’ Lane (1983-1987) and the redevelopment of Barnard’s Inn, off Holborn for the Mercers’ Company (1991-1992).
Founders’ Hall, Cloth Fair, City of London, built to the designs of Green, Lloyd and Adams (J. Sampson (Sam) Lloyd, partner in charge), 1984-1990.
STRUCTURE AND MATERIALS: reinforced-concrete frame, faced in brick and other materials including cast aluminium plaques, terracotta panels and metal grilles.
PLAN: the five-storey building occupies a long, narrow plot to the east of the Lady Chapel of the Church of St Bartholomew the Great. It is bounded by Cloth Fair to the north, Kinghorn Street to the east, Middlesex Passage and Bartholomew Close to the south and Bartholomew Passage to the west. The lower ground floor houses an anteroom, the livery hall, kitchens and WCs. It is reached via a ground floor foyer and a flight of stairs; adjoining the foyer is a parlour and small office. A meeting room for members of the Company is situated on the first floor. The floors above the livery hall contain a flat for the use of the Master and lettable flats and offices with a separate entrance and stairs from Kinghorn Street. The southern extension contains nine residential flats.
EXTERIOR: the principal west elevation, facing St Bartholomew the Great, is of nine gabled and jettied bays, alternating wide bays with narrower, recessed bays. The northernmost six bays are of 1984-1986, while the three bays to the south completed in 1990 are slightly angled to follow the site boundaries. The first three storeys are of brown brick with raked pointing with buff brick used above; the windows are square-paned metal casements. The jetties of the first and second storeys project in width as well as depth. The three lower storeys of the northernmost six bays are entirely clad in square-gridded glazing with leaded opening lights and spandrel panels of cast aluminium. The spandrel panels sport roundels incorporating the initials of members of the Company. The windows of the fourth and fifth floors are linked with terracotta spandrel panels onto which are affixed black metal grilles. The canted penultimate bay from the south houses the stairs and service risers and is faced in contrasting brown brick with bands of red brick between each storey.
The hall is entered from the northernmost bay of the west elevation. The panelled entrance doors are of dark hardwood with square doorhandles and a central panel of bronze. To the jetty above the entrance is fixed the Company’s coat of arms and to the either side of the entrance are circular name plaques of cast aluminium. The north elevation is of a single bay, identical to those to the west, excepting the ground floor, a projecting bay with a design of small square fixed panes of textured art glass set in a grid of oak glazing bars.
The east elevation is of eight bays, built in a darker brown brick. The main bays are neo-Georgian in spirit, loosely paraphrasing Wren’s work at Hampton Court Palace; the major influence on Lutyens’ ‘Wrenaissance’ manner. First-floor oriel windows incorporate margin lights and spandrel panels of cast aluminium over which is superimposed a black metal grille. The latter corresponds with the balconette to the windows above, while the third-floor has œil de bœuf windows and there are pitched dormers to the roof. The gabled fifth bay from the south is wider and taller and breaks forward, accommodating a kink in the street line. The south elevation is one bay in width and is near identical to the adjacent bays to the west.
INTERIORS: the entrance foyer is plastered and painted, with inner-entrance doors of glass with brass doorhandles. Adjoining limestone panels inscribed with names of masters of the Company are set in limed oak beside the entrance. The ceremonial staircase giving access to the lower-ground floor livery hall from the entrance foyer has a tubular brass handrail, stainless steel balusters clasping plate glass balustrades and ashlar base and treads. On the east wall is mounted a bronze circular plaque commemorating the opening of the building in October 1987. Into the lower quarter landing of the staircase is incorporated a large circular dedication plaque of brass, dated 2 July 1986. The parlour, to the right of the entrance foyer, is traditional in style and arrangement, featuring glazed square grid cabinets and reused oak doors, panelling and an ornate fire surround from the old hall.
The lower-ground floor ante-room features panels of stained glass from the old hall. The livery hall is lit from the west by five œil de bœuf windows in the manner of Lutyens, with architraves and ‘keystones’ at the base forming plinths for busts and sculptures. The ceiling beams are widely spaced and carried on stylised Doric columns of cast stone with gilded capitals. The suspended ceiling is a closely spaced square metal grid. Central to the east wall is a gilded screen incorporating the heraldry of masters of the Company, flanked by columns and full-height panels of mirror glass. The doors to the hall are of limed oak with semi-domed handles of brass.
The floors above the livery hall proper and the extension to the south (which contain a flat for the use of the Master, offices and private flats) are fitted out to standardised modern specifications and are not considered to be significant components of the architectural design.
SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: the buttressed retaining wall forming the boundary with the church yard and the iron railings mounted over it form part of the original design.