How many Livery Halls are there in the City of London?

As with so much else in the City of London, a simple question such as ‘How many Livery Halls are there in the City?’ results in a very complex and confusing answer. This is what I have discovered about the relationship between Halls and Companies following nearly 5 years or research on the topic:

How many Livery Halls are there in the City? Answer: 37, 38, 39 or 40 (it depends)

The count is complicated by the location of three halls:
  1. HQS WELLINGTON is the home of the Honourable Company of Master Mariners and is their Livery Hall. Clearly it is not on terra firma but it does have one anchor inside the City limits. If you accept HQS WELLINGTON then we move on to....
  2. Glaziers, Launderers and Scientific Instrument Makers Hall (one hall) is fully on the South side of London Bridge but has one wall against the bridge footings, which is considered ‘within the City’ as Bridge Ward was merged with Bridge Without Ward (Southern side). This precarious connection leads us to the third hall that might be questioned among the count...
  3. The Gunmakers' Hall which is outside the City Limits but has long been recognised as a Livery Hall and is most definitely the operational home and hall of The Gunmakers' Company.
There are two other quirks worth mentioning:
  • The Guildhall contains a Livery Hall which is home to no Livery Company. This hall was created for those companies that do not have their own hall, but none took up the offer.
  • The Fan Makers’ Company used to occupy the hall of St Botolph without Bishopsgate until 1992 but now reside in offices at 9 Dowgate Hill (not a hall).
Did I say two quirks? I mean't three:

  • The Worshipful Company of Insurers is located in Insurance Hall, which is in the City of London (right opposite the north side of Guildhall) but is it a Livery Hall? Let's come back to that...
Whatever the number of Livery Halls, the count of Livery Halls is not the same as the count of Companies that own halls, so we progress to the next question:

How many Livery Companies own Livery Halls? Answer: 41 (or fewer, it depends)

Farmers and Fletchers jointly own their hall. Glaziers, Launderers and Scientific Instrument Makers jointly own their hall. However, not all Halls are actually owed by the occupying Company, rather by the Company’s charity (perhaps a technical nuance, but important for the Clerks’ Fellowship), consequently there are more Companies that own (or share ownership of a Hall) than there are individual halls. If we split that ownership between Companies and Charities of Companies then the tally is complicated even further, but let's not go there!

However, our count of halls is not yet complete and we must also consider...

How many Livery Companies reside in a Hall other than a Livery Hall? Answer: 43

The Insurers’ Company reside in Insurance Hall which is in the City but is not a Livery Hall, rather it is the Hall of the Insurance Institute. If it were a Livery Hall it would be called the Insurers’ Hall.The Chartered Accountants’ Company make use of space in Chartered Accountants’ Hall, which is in the City, is correctly named, but is the Hall of the professional body, rather than the Livery Company.

So that's it for halls in which Companies in the City reside, or is it...

How many Halls of City Companies are there in the City? Answer: 44

Add Watermen’s Hall to the above. The Watermen's Company is not a Livery Company but it does have a hall, although it doesn't qualify as a Livery Hall.

Of course there are other premises which are owned or rented by Livery Companies, which may be in halls but are not of themselves a hall:

How many Livery Companies reside in premises in the City? Answer: Greater than 49

Several Livery Companies rent or have other arrangements within the halls of other companies, an example being the Fan Makers’ Company who reside in offices owned by and connected to Skinners’ Hall. 

The Constructors, The Carmen and the Marketors rent rooms in Plaisterers' Hall and the Tax Advisers and World Traders make use of Information Technologists' Hall but don't have offices there.

Not every Company makes it clear on their website whether they reside permanently in the premises of another company’s hall (e.g., Scriveners in HQS WELLINGTON) or simply rent rooms on an ad hoc basis (e.g., Tax Advisers in IT Hall) or have offices not in Livery Halls (Musicians' Company).

While we are on the subject of renting rooms in halls...

How many Livery Companies rent premises not in Livery Halls? Answer: Unknown

It is very difficult to quantify for the reasons given in response the previous question.

How many Livery Companies own premises they use for business? Answer: 2 (or more)

The Air Pilots' Company has premises in Southwark which is outside the City and The Paviors’ Company have premises in Charterhouse which is also outside the City.

A list of all the Livery Halls that are within (or recognised by) the City is shown in The City Livery Map along with places of worship and other principal civic buildings (Guildhall, Mansion House, Old Bailey, etc). The map is available from and Guildhall Library, priced £7.50 (excluding postage)

Want to learn more about the Livery Companies?

The City of London Freeman's Guide is the definitive concise guide to the City of London and its ancient and modern Livery Companies, their customs, traditions, officers, events and landmarks. Available in full colour hardback and eBook formats and now in its fourth or Masterpiece edition. The guide is available online from Apple (as an eBook), Amazon (in hardback or eBook) Payhip (in ePub format) or Etsy (in hardback or hardback with the author's seal attached). Also available from all major City of London tourist outlets and bookstores.

The City of London Freeman's Guide is available in all major City retail outlets and online

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