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History of Skinners’ Hall

Medieval Trade Guild Members

The first Skinners met each other in local taverns or churches to discuss their trade and problems, but as they became wealthier they began to pay for more permanent rooms.

Medieval Trade Guild Members

By the end of the 13th century they were using the building known as the Copped Hall that later became Skinners’ Hall.

The Copped Hall

This original property faced Dowgate Hill and was divided into five shops with rooms above. Behind the shops was the main hall reached via a courtyard that gave ample space for preparing processions and pageants. Harbin’s “Dictionary of London” states that the Skinners’ were in possession of the Copped Hall in the time of Henry 111 (1216-1272). Harbin refers to a deed dated 1267, however this deed is not in the Company’s ownership. The earliest reliable deed is dated 1295.

52 Livery Halls were destroyed in The Great Fire of 1666

Work started on rebuilding Skinners’ Hall in 1667, and parts of the current building date back to 1670. The cellars in Skinners' Hall pre-date The Great Fire.

east-india

The East India Company

Established in 1600 as a joint-stock association of English merchants trading to the 'Indies'. During a period of rivalry the East India Company rented Skinners' Hall from 1698 to 1709.  A 'new' East India Company, the United Company, was formed in 1709, and as a parting gift the Skinners’ Company was presented with the mahogany East India table which is still in use today in the Old Court Room.

1830 facade

 Skinners’ Hall

The Hall was rebuilt after the Great Fire with two entrances to the Hall from the street. Between 1683 -1783 the Hall underwent many changes improving the façade, the inner courtyard, the Outer Hall, the Banqueting Hall, the Court Room, and the Cedar Drawing Room.

WW11 bomb damage

World War II bomb damage

A bomb fell on Upper Thames Street on 27 July 1944. George Styles, the Company's butler on fire watch duty, is said to have saved the day by persuading other fire fighters to give priority to the Hall by providing them with refreshments from the spirits cupboard. The bomb blast destroyed the partition by the staircase in what was the Court Room, and the ceiling in the room above.

Repix_Old Court Room

The Old Court Room today

 

 

 

 

 

Court Room 2The Court Room today