You may have walked past Drapers’ Hall on numerous occasions – the building sits juxtaposed between the reflective commercial buildings of the 20th and 21st centuries – but have you ever had the chance to go through its grand doors?
Have you had the pleasure of drinking tall glasses of champagne in the Drawing Room, dined in the Livery Hall or danced in the Court Room? No? Well did you know that events, banquets and wedding receptions are not just for Freemen, Liverymen or members, the hall is open to everyone?
The Livery Companies are intrinsically woven into the history of the Square Mile. Formed by traders and crafts people, the liveries are formal governing bodies each regulating their trade. The liveries still to this day pride themselves on their religious, social and charitable tendencies. Each Liveryman starts life as a Freeman; however, today anyone can apply to become a freeman without belonging to a trade.
Originally started by traders in the woollen cloth industry, The Drapers’ Company held a powerful position in the City of London’s cloth market, with merchants travelling across the world to exchange goods.
Former Freeman’s of Drapers’ Hall include Sir Francis Drake, Lord Nelson and Vice-Admiral Haratio. What’s more, Queen Elizabeth II is a Freeman by Patrimony following in her father King George VI’s footsteps.
Described as an architectural patchwork due to damage (the Great Fire of London was one culprit) and renovations throughout the years, you’ll find the hall on Throgmorton Street. Originally the home of Thomas Cromwell, the grand building is a beautiful place not only for those tied to its history, but for those wanting to make an event or celebration that little bit more special.
This month, we were kindly invited to the historical building and had a sneak peak inside the incredibly lavish hall in the centre of the financial district.
The halls’ affiliation with the royal family is immediately apparent as you enter through the Clerk’s Entrance on Throgmorton Avenue. The gilded room is finished with dark carpets with Tudor roses and original paintings of monarchs past and present covering the walls.
The adjacent panelled corridor, adorned with many coats of arms, including Sir Francis Drake’s, leads you up a palatial marble staircase and to a landing with a breathtaking chandelier, dating back to the 1860s.
Upstairs you will find the Court Dining Room, used as a reception room; The Drawing Room, another reception room or presentation room, The Court Room, perfectly placed for informal lunches or events; and finally the Livery Hall, which is the most dramatic of them all and ideal for weddings, concerts and banquets.
The exclusive venue can hold up to 700 guests when using all the rooms for a standing reception, 276 for a seated dinner and around 350 for a concert or presentation. Be sure to use the garden and courtyard if booking your big day at Drapers’ Hall, as the hidden English Oasis is incredibly picturesque and can fit up to 180 guests for a summer drinks reception.
As well as weddings, the hall is a prime location for corporate events. The huge reception rooms provide a talking point and are a memorable place to entertain clients and guests alike. Catering for all types of occasions, Drapers’ Hall, with its extravagant rooms and attentive team, is certainly one of The City of London’s most memorable places to hold your next event.
Drapers’ Hall EC2N 2AN