Glaziers’ Hall is the home to three livery companies; The Worshipful Company of Glaziers and Painters of Glass, The Worshipful Company of Scientific Instrument Makers and The Worshipful Company of Launderers. It is named after the first Livery Company to reside here.
The Hall is located on the south side of London Bridge in the former Hibernia Wharf building alongside London Bridge facing the Thames. It has spectacular views over the River Thames towards the City of London and Fishmongers Hall. The site has been a settlement and access point to the City since at least Roman times.
The present building was erected in 1806 as a three-storey warehouse built into the original Rennie London Bridge. The upper floors were added in 1850. It was once called Hibernia Chambers and now simply 2 London Bridge. The Montague Close entrance can be accessed from the bridge via the “Nancy Steps”. These were made famous in the film of Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist as the scene of Nancy’s murder (different in the book). The Hall is on the Silver Jubilee walk route. It is in the Borough High Street Conservation area.
The first reception was held at the Hall in 1975 whilst restoration work was ongoing. The Scientific Instrument Makers invested in the Hall in 1977. HRH the Duchess of Kent, an Honorary Freeman of the Glaziers Company formally opened the Hall in 1978.In 1981 the Launders joined the two other Companies. The three liveries are principal shareholders of Glaziers Hall Ltd which manage the building on their behalf.
Brief History of site
Glaziers Hall stands on the site of the cloisters of the church of St Mary Ouverie Southwark, now Southwark Cathedral. Various excavations have revealed evidence of settlement during Roman times.
After the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1540 the cloisters were sold into private ownership to the Humphrey family and the land eventually acquired by the proprietors of Hays Wharf, who owned and operated the wharves and warehouses known as Hibernia, Pickfords and St Mary Overy Wharves.
Trade flourished at these wharves until the closure of the London Docks in 1970, when Hays Wharf made plans to redevelop the site.
The Glaziers Company were able to negotiated the present lease of the two warehouses with the aim of converting them into a Livery Hall. This was a long-held ambition of the Glaziers Company who lost their original Hall in the great fire in 1666. It was originally sited in Fye Foot Lane very close to where Fishmongers Hall is located now. In 1939 a plaque was erected by the Corporation on premises at 112 Queen Victoria Street to commemorate the Old Glaziers Hall however this appears to have been lost during bombing during the second world war.
Henshaw C, Howse D & Etherington K (2014) The Worshipful Company of Scientific Instrument Makers – A history The second 25 years 1989-2014, Biddles
Glaziers Company (2001) Glaziers Hall, A brief Guide, Glaziers Hall Ltd
Glaziers Hall Ltd (date unknown) Galziers Hall – A social history, internal publication
Younson, E (1988) The Worshipful Company of Scientific Instrument Makers – A history 1964-1989, Swiftprint