Sixtieth Anniversary of Brewers' Hall
2020 is the 60th anniversary of the opening of the current, third, Brewers’ Hall. The second Hall was completed in 1670. Built after the first Hall was burned in the Great Fire of London, it was home to the Company for over 250 years until it in turn was destroyed during the Blitz eighty years ago.
The decision to rebuild a hall was taken soon after the war; the Court was unanimous in the wish to maintain the centuries of tradition and retain the freehold of the site for a new hall. A Hall Committee was appointed to supervise the project which took fifteen years to complete. The Company had to face three lengthy public inquiries before the City granted planning permission. The City authorities were keen to purchase the freehold themselves and draw up their own plans for comprehensive redevelopment of war-damaged areas. While not opposed to any new livery hall, they favoured plans for incorporating Brewers’ Hall in a large office block, an idea totally opposed by members of the Company.
It was not until 1958 that permission for the present Hall was granted, though the Company had to compromise by surrendering part of their freehold to the City. In the interim, the Company moved around various offices and other premises, with the Court continuing to meet each month.
Sir Hubert Worthington RA was chosen as the architect of the new hall – a three-storey building, with a Portland stone exterior and the main suite of rooms on the first floor as they had been in the Stuart hall.
The Clerk and secretarial staff moved into the offices in July 1960, when the first Court meeting in the new hall was also held. The building was completed in August, and opened officially in October, when it was blessed by the Bishop of London and the Company entertained the Lord Mayor to mark the occasion.
The current development of the Hall, the first major works since 1960, are now well underway. Fortunately we have not had to contend with any public inquiries and we have managed to beat the 15 year gestation period (although not by much!). We look forward to moving back into the refurbished and extend Hall in mid 2022.
Published on 08 December 2020