Ingleton Wood has now completed a significant conservation project at Apothecaries Hall - a historic Scheduled Ancient Monument in the City of London.
The building in Black Friars Lane dates back to the 17th Century and is the headquarters of the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries of London. Rebuilt in 1672 after the Great Fire, and a survivor of the Blitz, it is the capital’s oldest livery hall.
Our London office has now completed a £350,000 conservation of the building’s courtyard.
The Worshipful Society’s solid oak coat-of-arms displayed within the courtyard has also been restored.
The work was carried out in consultation with Historic England, the Heritage of London Trust, Farebrother Chartered Surveyors and specialist conservation and heritage contractors DBR Ltd.
The building had suffered from extensive dry rot following leaks from the roof and rainwater downpipes causing moisture to be trapped within the walls.
Marcus Poole, Associate Chartered Building Surveyor in our London office, said: “This was a fantastic project and one that we feel very privileged to have been a part of.
“As well as repairing the roof and treating the dry rot, the decision was also made to remove all the cement render from the walls and modern paintwork from the cornicing and replace it with lime render and breathable paints.
“The cement-render had been laid on very thickly and this, combined with the single colour of paint, gave the elevations a very flat appearance. The new render was laid to the original thickness and a colour scheme appropriate for the early 18th Century used. This enabled previously lost detailing to be shown.”
To help with the restoration and ensure any changes were consistent with the hall’s past the project team referenced old paintings and photographs.
“It took several months to complete and we made some surprising discoveries,” Marcus continued.
“We assumed there was a fair degree of artistic license with many of the paintings, but once the render was removed we could clearly see how the Hall had been altered over the last 200 years and that, in fact, the paintings were accurate. We even found the outline of a plaque below the render, which we had assumed was an artistic flourish.”
Nick Royle, Clerk (CEO) to the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries, said: “For 400 years the Apothecaries have been on this site. Maintaining our building for the future is both a privilege but also a huge responsibility. We are delighted to be starting our 400th celebrations with such a magnificently refurbished courtyard, that will surely now stand the test of time for those who follow.”
Jane Sidell, Inspector of Ancient Monuments with Historic England, said: “I couldn’t be more pleased with the conservation; the use of traditional materials is much better for the long-term health of the building and in combination with historically appropriate colours has utterly transformed it. I’m delighted that the Worshipful Society took the plunge to make such significant and important changes to their Hall.”
The work also included the restoration of the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries’ coat-of-arms, completed with the help of a £5,000 grant from the Heritage of London Trust.
The charity’s Director, Dr Nicola Stacey, said: “We were thrilled to support the restoration of the coat-of-arms. It’s a particularly interesting design and tells a great story of 17th Century medicine, but it was also in very bad repair. We were so pleased that our grant enabled the Apothecaries to repair the original, rather than have to replace it with a replica.”
The Worshipful Society plays a key role in the advancement of specialist areas of medicine, and in the ongoing post-graduate education and qualification of practitioners.
It was founded by Royal Charter in 1617 and is one of the few livery companies in the City of London to remain professionally based, with over 80% of its membership belonging to the medical profession, and 6% pharmacy.