The Garden Guide

Book: London and Its Environs, 1927
Chapter: 26 From St Paul's Cathedral to the Bank of England

Mercers' Hall

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A little beyond Bow Church, to the right (No. 55), is Bennett's Clock, on which the hours are struck by quaint figures (Gog and Magog). Just beyond this King Street and Queen Street diverge to the left and right, the former leading to the Guildhall, the latter to Southwark Bridge. At the corner of Ironmonger Lane, just beyond King St., stands MERCERS' HALL, the guildhouse of the Mercers, one of the richest of the City companies and first in order of civic precedence. The hall was rebuilt in 1884 (visitors not admitted). The company (annual income �111,000) was incorporated in 1393. Its chapel, which is adorned with modern frescoes of the Ascension and the Murder of Becket, occupies the site of the hospital erected circa 1190 to the memory of Thomas Becket, who was born on this spot in 1119. This hospital was granted to the Mercers by Henry VIII. The chief treasure of the company is the Leigh Cup (1499), one of the finest extant pieces of English medi�val plate. Other objects of interest are the relics of Richard Whittington (died 1423), and portraits of Sir Thomas Gresham and Dean Colet (circa 1467-1519). The last was the founder (1509) of St. Paul's School, of which the Mercers are the Governors.