The Brewers’ Guild were one of the first to have a Hall of their own. The earliest reference to the Hall which stood on the same site as the present one occurs in the records of the Chapter of St Paul’s Cathedral in 1403. Company records reveal that by 1422 Brewers’ Hall was regularly let out for use by other City Livery Companies, Guilds and other groups including the ‘ffootballpleyers’, one of the earliest known references to football in English.
The First and Second Halls
The first Hall, described at the end of the sixteenth century as ‘a fayre house’ by the historian John Stow was destroyed by the Great Fire of London in 1666. A second Hall was built on the same site between 1670 and 1673. This was funded by means of donations from members and by pawning most of the Company’s silver, sadly this was never redeemed. The second Brewers’ Hall, together with much of the area around it, was destroyed in an enemy air raid on the night of 29 December 1940 during the Blitz.
The Third Hall
The third Brewers’ Hall, designed by Sir Hubert Worthington RA, was completed in 1960 and officially opened by the Bishop of London on 13 October of that year. The new building occupied part of the old site and was approximately the same height and size as the Hall it replaced. The creation of Aldermanbury Square on the south side led to a more open setting, while the north side was set back from London Wall.
Over the entrance door is a keystone, which features part of the crest of the Company, by Sir Charles Wheeler PRA. The lead heads are enriched with the Brewers’ emblems and the date, which are gilded.
The Court room is panelled in pine and has modelled plasterwork on the ceiling. The architraves of the windows and doors are richly carved as are the ventilation grills. The Verona marble fireplace, also by Charles Wheeler, is enriched with a panel of infant Bacchanals, with beer barrels and barley.
The Livery Hall is panelled in English oak. The four tall windows and the four side doors have beautifully carved architraves, as does the doorway into the Court Room. At the far end is a central feature with oak piers and a segmental pediment, in which are set the arms of the Company. The high cove that supports the ceiling has Coats of Arms displayed on either side, in modelled plaster, heraldically painted, which record key figures and benefactors from the Company’s history including: the Corporation of London; Sir Samuel Starling, Master in 1661 and Lord Mayor in 1669; Dame Alice Owen, who left a bequest to establish a school which bears her name; Saint Thomas Becket, the Company’s patron saint; Charles II, in whose reign the second Hall was built; Harry Charrington, Master in 1812; Samuel Whitbread, Master in 1846 and 1847, who left bequests for poor brewers; Richard Platt, Master in 1576 and 1581, and founder of Aldenham School; and James Hickson who founded a school (which no longer exists) and almshouses. The plasterwork of the ceiling is enriched with a band of hop leaves and barley.
Brewers' Hall Redevelopment
In 2020 the Brewers’ Company began an extensive redevelopment of the third Brewers’ Hall which will see the addition of three new floors. The Brewers’ Company’s offices and ceremonial space will occupy the ground and first floors, while a new, separate, entrance in Aldermanbury Square will provide access to four floors of purpose built, COVID-secure offices available to let. The redevelopment project is due to be completed in early 2022.