Living history: behind the doors of the GAI’s new home

The GAI is settling in to its new home at The Ironmongers’ Hall, the home of the Worshipful Company of Ironmongers. The Ironmongers’ Company is ranked 10th in order of precedence amongst the Great Twelve Livery Companies of the City of London and it dates back to 1463.

The Company’s charitable work provides support for educational establishments and their students, almshouses, historic ironwork and other good causes. It supports STEM in schools, materials science research at a number of universities and also the restoration of historic ironwork, especially for churches, schools and historic buildings. 

The Hall also has a rich history. The Company moved to the site of the Hall after its original home in Fenchurch Street was badly bombed in the first world war. The land in Shaftesbury Place, Aldersgate Street, on which the present Hall stands, was bought in 1922 and the Hall was opened in 1925. 

The Tudor/Jacobean style of the new Hall was decided upon because it recalled the golden age of craftsmanship. The Hall had a remarkable escape in December 1940, when a German air raid destrpoyed all adjacent buildings. It is now surrounded by the 1970s Brutalist architecture of the Barbican and the Museum of London. It was nearly subject to a compulsory purchase order by the City Corporation to make way for the new Museum. 

The Hall is now a popular venue for weddings and corporate events and is featured in films and television; the GAI plans to hold meetings and events in the space.

Take a virtual tour of Ironmongers’ Hall at www.irongmongers.org

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