London hotel near Goldsmiths Hall
Nearest tube: St Pauls and Bank
Hotels: Malmaison, The Rookery, Citadines Barbican
Goldsmiths Hall was built to house the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, one of the Livery Companies of the City of London. It is not one of Londons better known attractions but is well worth a visit if you are in the area of St Pauls and are interested in the architectural history of the city.
The Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths received their royal charter in 1327, and it is ranked fifth in the ancient livery companies that represented mediaeval tradespeople. The Company was originally responsible for issuing hallmarks - in fact, the word hallmark is derived from the fact that precious metals were inspected and marked in Goldsmiths Hall.
Goldsmiths Hall has been in the same location since 1339, although the current building was not erected until the 1830s. It is on the junction of Foster Lane and Gresham Street, just north-east of St Pauls Cathedral. The Hall was almost destroyed in 1941 when a bomb landed nearby, and the whole building received a refurbishment which was completed in 1990.
To get to Goldsmiths Hall the tube is very convenient, as St Pauls station is just a couple of minutes walk away, as is Bank. For mainline rail services, City Thameslink is the nearest station, just over the other side of St Pauls Cathedral.
Goldsmiths Hall is not usually open to the public, because it is still the working headquarters of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths. However, there are a few open days every year, on which visitors can see the collections within. These include a number of impressive rooms, including the Drawing Room, which has a carpet woven with the Companys coat of arms, and two tapestries which have hung since the seventeenth century.
The open days are arranged on a monthly basis during the autumn and winter months. The Hall is closed to the public between March and September, although its individual rooms can be booked for corporate and other functions. The upcoming dates for the open days can be found on the website of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, and consist of a guided tour, which takes place between 12:00 noon and 14:00. The tours are free of charge, but should be booked through the City Information Office (020 76063030).
The Livery Hall is the most magnificent of Goldsmiths Halls many impressive rooms, and it has a ceiling moulded in gold leaf. This combined with the four enormous chandeliers make any occasion in the Livery Hall a glittering one. One of the delights of Goldsmiths Hall is seeing the enormous plate of precious metals they have, and the Livery Hall is one of the finest settings in which to see it.
Although it is only open monthly, the tours are free, and the treasures inside Goldsmiths Hall are unique. If you are at St Pauls, you might wish to go and look at its outside, if you are at all interested in nineteenth century architecture. However, if you are visiting London at the right time, and you are free at the right time, it would be well worth a visit.
LONDON HOTELS IN THE CITY OF LONDON
|St. Pauls Station
|Mansion House Station
||District - Circle line
||Metropolitan - Circle line - Hammersmith & City
||Northern - Waterloo & City - Central - DLR (Bank branch)
|Cannon Street Station
||District - Circle line