Skinners’ Hall is home to The Worshipful Company of Skinners and one of the Twelve Great Livery Companies of the City of London. It is considered to be ‘a country house in the heart of the City‘ comprising of stately halls, elegant chambers, homely rooms, a beautiful Italianate roof terrace and a charming paved courtyard inspired by Chelsea Flower Show gold medal winners, Tommaso del Buono and Paul Gazerwitz.
Our tour of the Hall is led by the Beadle who will tell us about the fascinating history of Britain’s fur trade which dates back to the reign of Henry II (1154-89) but which had declined by the mid 16th century with changing tastes and the introduction of glass windows that improved the heating of buildings.
The present Grade One-listed Hall is a scheduled ancient monument and dates back to 1670, when it reopened having been rebuilt after the Great Fire of London. It has many unique features including ceremonial entrance gates, a round gallery with working fireplace, a magnificent polished East India Table and historically important artworks.
In 1901 the Court of the Skinners’ Company decided to put aside some money for decorating the Great Hall, formerly known as the Banqueting Hall. The artist and craftsman Frank Brangwyn was commissioned to create eleven panels, all oil on canvas representing the “stir and colour of the long-drawn Pageant of the Guild”, the first of which was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1904.
Today the Skinners’ Company is a major not-for-profit organisation with main activities being education and philanthropy.
The Hall is only open to visitors for three days per year so I am delighted to be able to offer 13 places on this tour, especially as the hall will be closing at the end of 2021 for two years’ refurbishment (please note we will be part of a larger group for the tour).
Images credit: Courtesy of The Skinners’ Company
Need to know
Meeting point: Skinners’ Hall, 8 Dowgate Hill, London, EC4R 2SP
Nearest tube stations: Monument/Mansion House/Bank