Goldsmiths Hall - Foster Lane, London, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Master Mariner
N 51° 30.944 W 000° 05.771
30U E 701473 N 5711176
Quick Description: Goldsmith's Hall, a Grade I listed building that is home to the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, is located at the junction of Foster Lane and Gresham Street in the City of London. It was designed by Philip Harwick and built 1829-35.
Location: London, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 2/23/2015 5:58:22 AM
Waymark Code: WMNDR2
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member razalas
Views: 2

Long Description:

The Goldsmith's Company website tells us:

Positioned at the junction of Foster Lane and Gresham Street, north east of St. Paul's Cathedral, the magnificent Hall, opened in 1835, is one of London's hidden treasures.

The Hall is the third on this site, the Goldsmiths' Company being located here since 1339. Little is known of the first Hall but the second was erected in 1634-6 and restored after the Great Fire of 1666. It lasted for almost two centuries, but was eventually demolished in the late 1820s. The present Hall, by Philip Hardwick, remains much as he designed it, although there have been changes to the decorative schemes and the use of rooms. The Hall narrowly escaped complete destruction when in 1941 a bomb exploded inside the south-west corner. Faithfully restored on the exterior after the War and internally modified, it retains much of the charm of an urban palazzo. A major refurbishment which was completed in 1990 has further adapted this great building for the 21st century.

The building is Grade I listed with the entry at the English Heritage website telling us:

1829-35 by Philip Hardwick. Detached, Portland stone building in rich classical style. 3 storeys. 11 Windows to main west front with engaged, 6 columned, Corinthian portico, on high pedestal, rising through 3 storeys. Returns have 7 windows with 4 pilasters. Pedimented lst floor windows: central 5 to west front have balconies on brackets with elaborate carving above. Pair of lamps and good metalwork to entrance. 4 good lamp standards on granite bases - lanterns possibly renewed. Irregular rear with cast iron area railing and 5 large, round arched windows to hall on 1st floor. Very good interior, especially staircase, hall and north front room.

The building is also a Scheduled Ancient Monument with the entry at the English Heritage website telling us:

Summary of Monument

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.



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.

Wikipedia has an article about Philip Hardwick that tells us:

Philip Hardwick RA (London 15 June 1792 – 28 December 1870) was an English architect, particularly associated with railway stations and warehouses in London and elsewhere. Hardwick is probably best known for London's demolished Euston Arch and its twin station Birmingham Curzon Street, which stands today as the oldest railway terminus in the world.

Hardwick was born at 9 Rathbone Place (since demolished) in Westminster, London. He was educated at Dr Barrow's school in Soho Square and trained as an architect under his father, Thomas Hardwick (junior) (1752–1829), who was in turn the son of architect Thomas Hardwick Sr. (1725–1798). The Hardwick family name spans over 150 years in the history of British architecture.

Philip Hardwick entered the Royal Academy Schools in 1808 and then studied in France and Italy from 1815 to 1819. After travelling Europe, he took over from his father as Surveyor to St Bartholomew's Hospital, London. This post later passed on to Philip's son – Philip Charles Hardwick, meaning that three successive generations of the family held the post.

In 1825 he was appointed architect to the St Katherine's Dock Company, for whom he designed the dock buildings, Thomas Telford designing the docks themselves. In 1829 he became architect to the Goldsmiths' Company, designing a new hall for them which was opened in 1835. In 1836 Hardwick became architect to the London and Birmingham Railway. He built a great Doric propylaeum, which became known as the "Euston Arch", as an entrance to the railway's Euston Station. In 1838 he built the Curzon Street Station as the railway's Birmingham terminus. It is an austere cubic three-story building in the Ionic style, with a portico of four giant Ionic columns.

At Babraham Hall in 1822-3, on the site of a long-demolished sixteenth-century house, Hardwick adopted a Jacobean style, using red brick with limestone dressings. Brick was used again at Lincoln's Inn, when, in 1843-5, Hardwick, in collaboration with his son, built a new hall and library. They used a Tudor style, the red brick varied with black brick decoration, and pale stone trim, foreshadowing the later fashion for polychrome brickwork. For churches, Hardwick used both the classical style, as at Christ Church, Cosway Street, Marylebone (1824–25), and the Gothic, as at Holy Trinity, Bolton (1823–25), St John's, Catford (1854) and the Royal Garrison church, Aldershot (1863).

Hardwick gained a reputation as a surveyor and was employed by the Westminster Bridge estates, the Portman London estate, Greenwich Hospital, and the estate of the 2nd Marquess of Salisbury (1829–1835). He was also surveyor to Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington (from 1842) and assisted Sir Francis Smith in designing Wellington Barracks next to Buckingham Palace in 1833.

In 1831 his father in law, architect John Shaw Senior, helped elect Hardwick as a fellow of the Royal Society. Hardwick was a founding member of the Institute of British Architects (1834) – later (1837) the RIBA – and was a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers. In 1839 he was one of the judges for the new Royal Exchange building in the City of London, and was appointed to select the design for the Oxford Museum in 1854. He was elected an associate of the Royal Academy in 1839, and became a Royal Academician in 1841.

In 1854, he received the seventh Royal Gold Medal for architecture.

Architect: Philip Harwick

Prize received: RIBA Royal Gold Medal

In what year: 1854

Website about the Architect: [Web Link]

Website about the building: [Web Link]

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