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The Founders' Hall

The principal outward and visible sign that a City Company had "arrived " was the possession of its own Hall, where it could transact its business and hold meetings of its officers and members.

The Founders achieved this goal in 1531, when 18 members of the Company joined together to buy two houses and a garden in Lothbury and proceeded to build a Hall on a site that still bears the name of "Founders' Court". The Hall was apparently completed in 1549 and thereafter yielded income from rents paid by tenants renting part of the premises, among them being the Eastland Merchants, the East India Merchants, the Merchant Adventurers, and the Company of Brown Bakers.

The Company was hard hit when the Hall, like so many others, was destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666 and rebuilt at a heavy cost mainly borne by the Liverymen from their own pockets. The new Hall, built of brick with a stone front, continued to bring in income from a variety of uses, including religious meetings and services held by the Scottish Presbyterian Church in London and by Nonconformist preachers.

In 1845 the Company built another Hall in Founders' Court intended for its own purposes. This was leased to the Electric Telegraph Company in 1853. The property in Founders' Court was later leased to Brown Shipley and Company, Merchant Bankers, in 1921 and in 1964 they bought the freehold from the Founders.

The Founders' Company then acquired freehold premises in St. Swithin's Lane. The building in St. Swithin's Lane was for many years partly let to various tenants as offices, but in 1966 it was entirely reoccupied by the Company and internally reconstructed.

In the early 1980's, the Court took a decision to build a new Hall and during the period 1985 to 1987 a new building was erected on a freehold site at the east end of St. Bartholomew the Great in Cloth Fair.

The new Hall was designed by Sam Lloyd and the building much reflects the traditions so ably established by his grandfather, William Curtis Green (1875-1960), one of the leading Arts and Crafts house architects. The design rejects the modern movement and is finished in traditional materials in a manner that is in keeping with this historic part of the City. Founders' Hall was opened by the Lord Mayor, Sir David Rowe-Ham, in September 1987.

 

The Hall and its Listing:

Begun in 1985, our fifth Hall, the first was lost in the Great Fire, was designed by Sam Lloyd and opened by the Lord Mayor, Sir David Rowe-Ham, in September 1987.  The building, is constructed of traditional materials in a manner which is in keeping with this historic part of the City and was listed, Grade 2, in May 2018:

“for its historic and architectural interest and group value.

‘Architectural interest:

* 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.

Historic interest:

* 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.

Group value:

* with the Church of St Bartholomew the Great (Grade I) and the Hand and Shears Public House (Grade II) which frame the island site’.