31 Hatton Garden


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:
31 Hatton Garden, Holborn, London, EC1N 8DH


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Statutory Address:
31 Hatton Garden, Holborn, London, EC1N 8DH

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Greater London Authority
Camden (London Borough)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:


An early-C19 town house, extended to the rear in the later C19 or early C20, of four storeys and a basement laid out as a ground-floor shop, offices and precious metal workshops to the basement and top floor.

Reasons for Designation

31 Hatton Garden, an early-C19 town house, extended to the rear in the later C19 or early C20, laid out as a ground-floor shop, offices and precious metal workshops to the basement and top floor is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:   Architectural interest:   * the former town house was built before 1850 and survives substantially intact including its decorative principal elevation, internal fixtures such as the staircase, a fireplace and some cornicing and moulded skirting;   * it has a legible plan with regard to its town house origin and the added interest of partial conversion to precious metal workshops.   Historic interest:   * the precious metal workshops within the building are rare surviving examples of the small-scale, traditional processes, that date from at least the early-C19.   Group value:   * with the Grade II-listed St Andrew's Parochial Schools Wren House and attached railings, which stand on the same side of Hatton Garden.


Number 31 Hatton Garden originated as a town house and is thought to have been in continuous occupation by individuals and companies in the jewellery trade since the early C19. Hatton Garden is situated just outside the City of London and is close to the subterranean River Fleet. The area had an association with metalworking from at least the C10, and nearby Fetter Lane was home to armourers working for the Knights Templar. However it was the discovery of processes to improve the performance of precious metals such as the extraction of palladium from gold (therefore improving its colour) that helped consolidate the areas reputation for fine metalworking.

The production of jewellery, and other products in precious metals, involved the use of shaped wooden benches known as 'jewellers boards' or 'peg benches' which, where possible, were placed under windows to take advantage of natural light. The craftsperson would sit on a stool at a scalloped-out bench, using a protruding, timber peg as a work surface and a gas-powered jet for soldering. Leather pouches were hung below, to catch valuable filings and offcuts. In workshops producing metal products, hand-operated, drop or fly presses were used to produce component parts.

Trade directories identify that John Edward Terrey started a silversmiths company in 1814, moving to number 31 Hatton Garden in 1819 and continuing to trade there until 1852. Terrey had previously been in partnership with Samuel Hennell of the Hennell dynasty, whose family were working silver from the early C18.

Richard Hodd is also recorded as trading at number 31 from 1840 onwards. His company, R Hodd & Son, were silversmiths to Queen Victoria and showed their work at the Great Exhibition of 1851. The site was known as the Minerva Works and one of the identifying hallmarks of Hodd & Son silverware is the Minerva mark. In the later C19, Hatton Garden became a popular location for diamond merchants relocating from Kimberley, South Africa, with M Lilienfield and Co setting up at 31 Hatton Garden in 1878 and the Barnato Brothers in 1881. The brothers later amalgamated their business with Cecil Rhodes, forming De Beers Consolidated Mines Ltd.

After the Second World War, Hodd & Son specialised in refurbishing antique silver, turning to this speciality after the London trade was impacted by a purchase tax of up to 150%. Smith & Harris bought the last nine years of Richard Hodds 150 year lease from the Cordwainers Company (the London Guild of Shoemakers) in 1981. The Smith & Harris workshop retains workbenches, polishing and turning lathes and drop presses, along with a collection of hand tools. It is still in use today (December 2019) along with another smaller example on the top floor.

Throughout the building, a number of the internal doors have been replaced during the late C20 with flat-faced variants, and partition walls have been added to sub-divide rooms into smaller offices or workshops. The sash windows to the front elevation are likely to have been altered to accommodate larger, Victorian glass panes. At some point in the later C19 or early C20, the ground floor has been converted to a shop and an extension has been added to the rear of the building to create a further workshop. Some rebuilding or extension has also occurred on the upper floors of the rear elevation, possibly as a result of bomb damage.


An early-C19 town house, extended to the rear in the later C19 or early C20, of four storeys and a basement laid out as a ground-floor shop, offices and precious metal workshops to the basement and top floor.

MATERIALS: London stock brick in Flemish bond with stone detailing and a timber shop front.

PLAN: the building is terraced and faces west onto Hatton Garden where there is an entrance on the ground floor to the south side, and a central shop entrance. There are four storeys over a basement, all served by a single staircase. The upper floors and basement consist of a number of rooms laid out as offices or workshops. To the rear, there is a later-C19 or early-C20, two-storey extension.

EXTERIOR: the building is symmetrical (bar the offset main entrance to one side) and classical in style. It is formed of three bays and four visible storeys. The ground floor has a timber shop front, formed of four pilasters and a frieze, supported by carved, console brackets, surmounted by round-headed mouldings, which are carved with a flower motif and the number '31'. The C21 shop windows and doors are formed of glass and aluminium. The main entrance door is to the south side and is of solid timber and has six panels. The fanlight above, is rectangular and is painted with the number '31'.

The upper storeys are delineated by stone plat bands, and each has three, two-pane, horned sash windows, which reduce in height as the storeys rise. On the first floor, they are set within shouldered stone architraves with flat-topped pediments. At the second floor level, the stone architraves have segmental pediments containing carved foliage around a central circular motif. Attached to the curved pediment, there is a central, shell motif and a figurine to each side. The windows on the top floor are square-headed and have a wedge lintel with central keystone, which is carved with a decorative symbol. The elevation is terminated by a stone frieze, which has a band of composite modillions and decorative console brackets with round-headed mouldings to either side. The rear elevation is more plain and has four-paned sash windows.

INTERIOR: the open-well stairs have a curtail step, wall string, wreathed handrail, open strings and turned balusters. The stairs are curved to achieve a return on each floor and lit by a glazed, roof light. The side of the ground-floor stair, has C19 fielded-panelling around a later door. Under the stair there are stone steps to the front basement which retains its original plan and extends under the pavement to the front of the building. At the rear of the entrance hall there is a later-C20 staircase which leads to the roof of the extension. Another door from the rear of the hallway provides access to the extension, which is laid out as a large office with reception desk.

The rear basement (former kitchen) also has stone steps down from the rear of the hallway. It is laid out as a workshop with an open, brick hearth and shallow, timber-boarded shelving on metal brackets around the walls. The workshop contains a number of specialist tools and workbenches, most of which date from the C20. To the front, there is a former coal store with hatch above and a flag-stone floor. At the rear of the workshop there is a multi-paned window and door, which provides access to an external light-well. On the top floor of the building there is a small, jewellery repair workshop with C20 workbench. The entrance vestibule has a glazed and timber screen with a security hatch.

Elements of the original cornice can be seen throughout the ground, first and second floors and there is an early-C19, black-painted fireplace with bracketed mantle and a decorative, round-headed fire basket. The vestigial remains of some of the other fireplaces also survive. The doors throughout the building are mainly C20, flat-faced and functional. The shop interior is also functional and has late C20 fixtures and fittings.


Books and journals
Barron, C, Hunting, P, Roscoe, J, The Parish of St Andrew, Holborn, (1979), 17-18
Lichtenstein, R, Diamond Street: The Hidden World of Hatton Garden, pp27-35, (2013)
Hawkins, B, Cattell, J, The Birmingham Jewellery Quarter - An introduction and guide (English Heritage 2000)
History of our Workshop, accessed 22/10/19 from http://smithandharris.com/ourworkshop/history
Online Encyclopedia of Silver Marks, Hallmarks and Makers' Marks, accessed 22/10/19 from https://www.925-1000.com/
The Silver Makers, accessed 22/10/19 from https://purelysilver.info/silver-makers/page/7/


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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