Thursday, 23 September 2010


On Sunday 19 September Drapers' Hall was open to the public for free as part of the City of London Open House programme.  This scheme encourages those who own distinctive properties across the City, that are not usually accessible to the public, to open on the same weekend in September.  This year some eighty City buildings were in the scheme.  This is the second time we have been involved having joined the scheme last year.

London Open House 2010, looking down the corridor into Throgmorton Street packed with visitors.
Yet again the Hall proved a very popular attraction.  Between 10.00am and 3.30pm over 1700 visitors thronged through the public rooms.  To many the Hall and its contents came as a completely unexpected discovery.  This is not surprising as the building is largely hidden behind offices and shops and the entrances to the Hall are very unobtrusive and give little indication of the sumptuously decorated public rooms hidden inside.  However a significant minority were extremely knowledgable and asked questions that required the encyclopaedic knowledge of our Archivist, Penny Fussell, to be fully deployed.

As last year members of the livery and freedom worked in shifts to act as guides who were not only in a position to answer any questions about the rooms - one or two admitted to a very sharp learning curve - but also to explain something about the Company.  Nearly thirty were involved and all remarked on what a worthwhile day it had been.  Without exception first-time visitors were bowled over by the rooms and those who knew about the Hall, however superficially, were keen to renew and deepen their knowledge of it.  Also it allowed those of us who use the Hall regularly to view it through new eyes and better appreciate our unique heritage.

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