The Livery Lunch, an event instigated by Past Master Susan Wood as an informal occasion for Liverymen and their spouses to meet and socialise, was held this year at Tallow Chandlers’ Hall. As it was a fine early September day, we were able to have pre-lunch drinks in the courtyard before moving indoors to lunch in the Hall upstairs. As ever, the Ladies were resplendent in their hats.
Before lunch, Brigadier Roy Wilde, Clerk of the Tallow Chandlers, entertained us with a fascinating history of the Company and its Hall (it has to be said, in far more detail than can be seen on the Company’s website). The Deansgate cellars are 35 feet below the Hall, which may account for the good condition of the wine. The site of the first hall is now occupied by the Bank of England, but this first hall, constructed in 1476, was destroyed in the Great Fire, the ferocity of which was due in part to the stocks of tallow on site.
The present hall, built on a Roman site, was designed by the Company’s Surveyor, Captain John Caines. Robert Hooke, sometimes known as “England’s Leonardo”, provided guidance to the Surveyor and Christopher Wren collaborated in the building of the new hall which opened in 1672. In WWII, the Hall was damaged by a bomb and
rebuilding took 7 years, during which time the Beadle and his wife cooked in the courtyard to feed Liverymen, without the aid of gas or electricity. The Hall is one of the best preserved in the City with little change since 1672, other than the minstrels’ gallery which was lost in WWII. All those who attended had a very enjoyable lunch and the ladies with their wonderful hats brightened our day.
Eric Shawyer and Edward Hutton