Fishmongers’ Hall

London, United Kingdom | C.1310

Photo Credit: HarshLight

The Worshipful Company of Fishmongers, a guild of seafood merchants, hung its first royal charter in 1272. Since then, the guild has recorded an unbroken existence for over 700 years. It is one of the Great 12 Livery companies of London, and their headquarters is the Grade II listed Fishmongers’ Hall on London Bridge. 

Though the company had previous quarters elsewhere, the present site became theirs in 1434. But that hall was destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666, and the replacement hall was demolished to make way for the London Bridge in 1827.

In 1831, the Fishmongers announced a competition for the design of a new hall. This competition became the most notable architectural competition of the era, attracting 87 entrants. Henry Roberts, then just 28 years old, won the competition with his Greek Revival design. Featuring an arcaded base in the Roman aqueduct style and a riverside terrace, the new hall became the grandest Greek Revival structure in London. Materials used included Portland stone and Devon granite – the same as in the new London Bridge. 

The Hall contains many treasures from its long and illustrious history. Among these are the dagger with which Lord Mayor Walworth killed Wat Tyler in 1381, a 1955 portrait of Queen Elizabeth II by Piero Annigoni, an impressive collection of 17th and 18th-century silver, two portraits by George Romney and river scenes painted by Samuel Scott. Also of note is the embroidered 15th-century funeral pall, which traveled to churches across the country to grace the coffins of deceased fishermen.

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