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Inside the Mansion House


The Walbrook Entrance

This part of the house was originally designed as an eight stall stable and coach house, though it was never used for that purpose. In 1846 James  Bunning an architect working for the City of London Corporation was asked to design a new entrance at the side of the House so that the Lord Mayor could come and go without being in the full view of the general public. The benches date back to 1811 and the chairs were made during the refurbishment in 1991/93 to complement the benches.

The Walbrook Hall entrance

The most striking piece of furniture is the 18th century Hallkeeper's Chair, designed to keep the draught out as he met and greeted the Lord Mayor's guests outside the house. The draw at the bottom was used to put a hot pan or coal in to keep the Hallkeeper warm.

In constant contemporary use, it brings the Lord Mayor's Guests into the vaulted areas on the ground floor ascending to

The Salon

The Salon This was once called the 'Saloon' but over time has become known as the Salon. On the first floor, provides a large reception area under a stunning row of crystal chandeliers (Messrs Osier, 1875). It was originally a roofless courtyard but was covered by George Dance the Younger almost as soon as the House was opened.

Originally Mansion House shared the chandeliers to light banquets with the Guildhall, and they were moved back and forth at great risk. In the late 1700s the inevitable happened as they were bringing the chandeliers back from Guildhall: a number of chandeliers were broken. When it was all swept up, the Court of Alderman allowed the Mansion House to obtain its own lights. In 1875 the firm of Messrs Osler was asked to create and install the dramatic row of chandeliers which today adorn the Salon and ante-room to the Venetian Parlour. Each button and pear contains more than 30% lead, to deepen the sparkle and colour. The chandeliers are cleaned and re-pinned on a regular basis. The skilled craftsmen who undertake this work say that the Mansion House chandeliers are unmatched.

The Long Parlour

The Long Parlour An elegant room, probably the room least changed, the Long Parlour is primarily used for business meetings and dinners. The present furnishings and decoration are designed to recall the mid-18th century character of the room. Directly opposite the Long Parlour across the floor of the Salon are

 

The Drawing Rooms

The South and North Drawing roomsAn interlinking pair of rooms with a scheme of decoration inspired by descriptions from the mid-19th century, when the suite of chairs and sofas known as the Nile Suite (c.1803 to commemorate Nelson's Sea Victories) were first used to furnish these capacious, stately rooms. The Drawing Rooms provide an intimate setting for part of the Samuel Collection. As with the Long Parlour and the Salon, the doors out of the drawing Rooms lead towards

 

The Great Egyptian Hall

The Egyptian Hall A grand room, seating 350, that should be known as the Roman Hall. It is based on designs by the classical Roman architect Vitruvius of Roman buildings in Egypt, with giant columns supporting a narrower attic area. The Italian architect Andrea Palladio was much taken by this style in the 16th century and it was very fashionable in the 18th century. There is nothing Egyptian about the decoration. The marble statues date from 1854-64 and the stained glass from 1868. The paintwork is close to the original stone colour, which with the gilding is intended to create a dignified effect appropriate to this great civic interior.

On the floor above, of particular note is

The Old Ballroom

The Old BallroomRunning from north to south, off which are two state bedrooms.

The mood of the old Ballroom is light and airy throughout with an abundance of elaborate plasterwork representing musical instruments etc and carved timber ornament. It is used for meetings, conferences and dinners.

 

 

Find out more about tours of the Mansion House.


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Last modified: 15 December 2008 | Author: Lucia Graves
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