Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Mansion House

So if you were serving as the Lord Mayor of The City of London, your home sweet home would be the Mansion House, located in the center of London across from the Royal Exchange.  Just a quick reminder inserted here that "The City" of London is also referred to as the "Square Mile" denoting its size and the fact that it is the inner historical core of greater London and the home of the United Kingdom's financial services. As Lord Mayor, you would live, work and entertain in this elaborately furnished house which is often used for ceremonial events and receptions, as well.

We took a tour recently and were amazed at some of the secrets inside this beautiful Georgian town palace which was built between the years of 1739-1758.
One of the first items we saw upon entry was this Hallkeeper's Chair from the 18th century. It was designed to protect the hallkeeper from some of the draft, as he kept watch over the entry. Underneath the seat is a drawer which could hold a hot pan or coals to give him extra warmth.

Going further into the house gave us a glimpse of the Salon, which serves as a large reception area and is graced by a row of crystal chandeliers which are considered by some to be the most beautiful in the country outside of Buckingham Palace.

The chandeliers date from 1875, and were originally gas powered. The largest one has 36 lamps and weighs 606 pounds. Incredibly beautiful!

Next, we went into the Long Parlour Room where meetings and small dinners are held.

The day we were there, it was set up for an afternoon meeting the Lord Mayor was hosting to discuss plans for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee to be held in 2012.
The Lord Mayor is elected by the livery companies and serves one year, in an unpaid ambassadorial role to represent the UK based financial and professional services.

The spectacular Egyptian Hall holds as many as 350 for a seated meal and serves as the main reception room of The Mansion House.

Not really Egyptian in style at all, it should more appropriately be called the Roman room,

and features statues of figures lining the walls which represent the classical world.

I loved the fascinating stained glass designed by Alexander Gibbs which was installed in 1868.

Moving on, we entered the State Drawing Rooms

where VIP's often gather before the receptions.

Most of the world renowned Harold Samuel art collection is displayed in these rooms. The collection includes 84 paintings by Dutch and Flemish masters and is considered by some to perhaps be the best collection of Dutch art in Britain. It was bequeathed to The City by Lord Harold Samuel, a wealthy property developer, in 1987.

The Merry Lute Player, on top, is the best known piece in the collection, painted between 1624-8 by Frans Hals.

Oddly enough, our visit ended with a peek into the men's toilets, where the original kitchen fireplace, dating back to 1753, is located.

Some of the ancient rules are still in place, though not enforced. 
Swear not, Lie not, Neither Repeat Old Grievances.
Warnings against eating or drinking in the hall with your hat on were also included.

Guided visits to The Mansion are held every Tuesday at 2 PM if you are ever in the area and would like to catch a tour. I can't imagine that you wouldn't enjoy it just as much as I did. A peek into the daily life of The City's Lord Mayor was fascinating.

Congratulations to Sue Watson who won the Souvenir Royal Wedding edition of The Sun newspaper after a random drawing by my sweet little granddaughter who loves to help out in this way. Thanks to everyone who dropped by and commented.


  1. Wow, looks beautiful and ornate. I guess just how you would imagine a Lord's house! Thanks for sharing :)

  2. I find it completely awe-inspiring (gobsmacking??) that someone actually LIVES there! I think I would find it difficult to get any work done.

  3. Debi such a treat to see the interiors of this historical building! Thank you!

    Art by Karena

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  4. I always wanted to take this tour and missed it-looks fabulous-next trip!
    Thanks for sharing. Ann

  5. What a spectacular home!! Elegance at it's finest!! I remember so many childhood tales about "the Lord Mayor of London". That's the extent of my knowledge, but it has a residence to match the fancy title!!

  6. I would like one of those signs for my home.

    Ah yes, this would make a very nice place to live!

  7. This looks fantastic and I will have to take that tour one day - do you think they might be prepared to part with that chandelier? ;-) Hope your Monday was a good one. xo

  8. Great pictures. Thanks for sharing. One place I saw from the outside, but didn't tour. It looks like I should have. Glad you got to do it for me.

  9. oh my goodness. i'm still drooling over those
    chandeliers! such splendour.

  10. Beautiful mansion! Congratulations to Sue!