The Worshipful Company of Leathersellers is one of the ancient Livery Companies of the City of London and was founded by Royal Charter in 1444. Their offices and hall are located at 5-7 St Helen’s Place, Bishopsgate at the heart of a conservation area and adjacent to an 800 year old Grade I listed church. Over the course of the Company’s long history they have had six Halls and their seventh Hall, to Eric Parry Architect’s designs has just been completed.
The historic Portland stone south facade of the building was retained by Szerelmey Restoration who undertook extensive mortar and stone repairs and treated the existing steelwork. facade restraints were installed to stabilise the existing stonework and two new floors dug down behind, to change the existing levels and create basement areas. The entire facade was hand cleaned to bring it back to its former splendour.
A new north facade of stunning faience designed by EPA was erected with Szerelmey being responsible for the sourcing, supply and installation of the tiles. It is comprised of 13,000 faience elements incorporating 168 different shapes including curved pieces, column pieces, copings and soffits. Some of the faience elements are very large, up to 800x300mm which presents a series of technical questions that both the manufacturer and Szerelmey as installer, had to overcome. The lower ground floor faience units are white, while levels 2-6 are coloured with a bespoke, mottled glaze developed specifically for the job, and somewhat reflective of leather in tone. Szerelmey installed the precast backing structure and fixed each faience element individually back to this using stainless steel fixings. The joints between are approximately 10mm with a lime mortar grout. The density and colour of the facade is a stunning contrast to the adjacent 30 St Mary’s Axe.