Every year, Salters’ Hall opens its doors for the Open House Festivals to welcome the public for a multi-day tour bonanza of brutalist architecture and the history of the salt trade. Our Outreach Ambassador Isabella Ewell reflects on the Salters’ Open House 2023:
This September, the heat did not stop Salters’ Hall from opening its doors to the community as a part of the Open House Festival, not only for a tour of the Brutalist livery hall, but also for a walkthrough of their remarkable history. Led by members of the Company, the public were guided through Salters’ Hall by Company volunteers, who provided commentary on key historical and design features, such as the original architectural concepts by Sir Basil Spence and interior designs by Sir David Hicks. Perhaps the most extravagant area in the building, the Main Hall, is my personal favourite, with the combination of ash panelling and dark red carpeting patterned to resemble benzene rings in reference to the Company’s involvement in science education. As a chemistry student, I particularly appreciate this allusion! The history of Salters’ Halls, past and present, were brought to life by the Salters’ Archivist, Katie George, who used historical documents to explain the Company’s turbulent history, such as how the first medieval Hall was destroyed in the Great Fire of London and a later Hall was destroyed by bombings in 1941. It was fascinating to hear how the Company found ways to restore their central base in the face of many turbulent eras. The tours concluded with a visit to the Salters’ Garden, which highlights the contemporary brutalist building against a section of Roman London Wall.
Our tours are available year-round. Learn how to book a tour here: https://saltersinstitute.org/book-a-tour/
We also have information about the Salters’ Archives available here: https://salters.co.uk/archives/
If you have any queries about tours of Salters’ Hall or the annual Open House, please email [email protected].