The redevelopment of the Guildhall Square

Sir Giles Scott was asked to first prepare a scheme for the redevelopment of the Guildhall area as early as 1934. The City sought to expand its offices and build a new art gallery and museum, whilst removing the clutter of later buildings that surrounding the medieval hall. Politics, and the second world war (in which the former art gallery was burnt out in the Blitz), delayed progress until the late 1940s, and the first block, to the north, was completed in 1955. The second phase, to the east, was delayed further and redesigned after the death of the architect in 1960. The Partner’s new scheme went further in clearing the site from ‘cluttered buildings’, and substantially enlarged the courtyard create an asymmetric space around the Guildhall.

Guildhall._Engraved_by_E.Shirt_after_a_drawing_by_Prattent._c.1805.

The art gallery, and the re-paving of the square, were the last phases to be completed in the 1990s. The St Lawrence Jewry fountain is not shown on the earlier plans for redevelopment and, it would seem, was always marked out for removal at an early stage. It was dismantled in 1970 by J. Bysouth Ltd, on the understanding that it would be re-erected by the Corporation of London as soon as a suitable location could be found.

The fountain stones were moved to a barn at Great Gregoried Farm, Epping, in the late 1980s. In 2009, they were then relocated and stored in Chichester. The sculptures and bas relief were stored in the Guildhall Art Gallery.

The St Lawrence Jewry Memorial Fountain has since been restored and rebuilt at the eastern end of Carter Lane Gardens at the south of St Paul’s Cathedral.