The Stationers' Hall
The Company's Hall
Milk Street, Peter’s College (St Paul’s), Abergavenny House, 1606
The ambition of all City companies was to own a hall, and the Stationers were no exception. The tradition is that they had a hall in Milk Street, but nothing is known about it. By about 1554 they had bought Peter’s College, which had belonged to St Paul’s. It stood immediately to the east of the Deanery at the point where Ludgate Hill opened into the churchyard on the south side. By the end of the 16th century, however, it was found to be too small for the expanding Company and in 1606 the Stationers purchased for £3,500 Abergavenny House on the site of the present Hall.
During the 18 months following the Fire little progress was made, but, gradually, steps were taken to build the present Hall, with work beginning in 1670. By autumn 1673 the new Hall was used for dinner on Lord Mayor’s day, but a further 12 months passed before Stephen Colledge, ‘the Protestant Joiner’, contracted to panel the Hall for £300.
The accounts for the work on the Hall and kitchen after August 1672 have survived. Henry Foord for all the woodwork (except the panelling) charged £732, Mr Pollard, the painter, £33, and Robert Wapshott, the builder, for draining and brickwork, plastering and slating, charged £905. It has been estimated that the complete work came to about £3,000. In the 10 years following the Fire about £5,000 was spent on the Hall, warehouse, Court Room, Stock Room and tenements. Much of the money came from the profits of the Stock, as had the original purchase money for the property. On 1 March 1745, King George II gave permission to hold the property in mortmain. From that point on Stationers’ Hall indisputably belonged to the Company of Stationers.
At the end of the 18th century, Robert Mylne, Surveyor to the Company since 1776, was asked to give a more dignified appearance to the frontage. The work was finished in the autumn of 1800 and cost just over £1,300. His son and successor, William, in 1825, improved the amenities of the Court Room at a cost of £1,600. The third Mylne, Robert William (son of William), re-shaped and partially re-built the east wing of the Hall with an expenditure of just over £7,000 in 1885, when the Stock Room was given its present shape, but with the old panelling restored.
The Hall Today