Apothecaries Hall, a Grade I listed building at Black Friars Lane, is the headquarters of the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries, one of the oldest livery companies in London.
Originally part of the Dominican priory of Black Friars called Cobham House, the building was purchased by the Society in 1632. Largely destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666, the Hall was rebuilt, incorporating the medieval remains to the design of Thomas Locke between about 1669 and 1672. A major restoration programme was carried out in the 1780s and although the hall underwent further redevelopment in the 1980s, its late-eighteenth century appearance remains for the most part unchanged.
DBR London is currently carrying out the conservation work on the Hall’s four external elevations overlooking the central courtyard, which was covered in cement in the 1980s. This impervious render trapped moisture within the building and has caused extensive internal dry rot and damp problems.
Our stone masons have removed approximately 300 square metres of cement render by hand to ensure that the substrate is not damaged. This process revealed fascinating information through exposing the original gauged and stock brickwork, timber construction, and Roman tiles. The chance to look literally behind the surface has assisted in understanding the nature of the Hall’s construction with Historic England taking a keen interest in the evolution of the render repairs.
DBR is now replacing the render with a sympathetic hydraulic lime, which will then be treated in potassium silicate paint.
Alongside these works, we are also carrying out the conservation of two polychrome and gilded coats of arms, one of stucco and the other of timber. Please click here to see DBR Conservation’s work on the paint analysis of the two coats of arms.
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