When you’re over 660 years old you’ve witnessed quite a bit of history. So here below is the second part of our list of some of the important dates in the Merchant Adventurers’ Hall history. As well as a few choice snippets from further afield…


1626 St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City opens

1642 English Civil War begins

1652 Tea arrives in Britain

1657 The Hall turns 300 years old!

1666 The Great Fire of London ravages the city from the 2nd to 5th September

1682 The Palace of Versailles opens in France

1702 Anne Bonny the famous Irish Pirate is born

1727 King George I dies and is succeeded by his son King George II

1755 Dr Samuel Johnson publishes his Dictionary of the English Language

1757 The Hall turns 400 years old!

1776 The United States of America declares its Independence from the United Kingdom

1825 Stockton and Darlington railway opened

1837 The Hall turns 500 years old!

Queen Victoria ascends the throne at the age of 18.

1850 The Merchant Adventurers are struggling to survive – there are only half a dozen Members recorded in this year.

1859 The bell known as Big Ben chimes for the first time

1889 The Eiffel Tower in France is built, it was only supposed to be temporary (it now has over 6 million visitors every year)

1920 The Hall is 563 years old…time for a facelift!

Between 1920 and 1938 the Hall undergoes its first major restoration. The Chapel is underpinned, the floor in the Undercroft is raised again to its present height, 1.5 metres higher than the original level, and the wooden pillars are shortened and stood on stone plinths to counteract the rot which has set in after numerous floods.

1947 The Hall is 590 years old!

A new range of buildings is added encompassing the toilet block, Governor’s Parlour, Strong Room and the present-day staircase.

The Hall is flooded to a height of 3ft 4inches.

1967 The Hall floods again

1982 The Hall floods to a height of 4ft 2ins, or 128cm.

2003 The Hall is 658 years old!

The Hall is made fully accessible with the addition of a lift and level access ramps.

2015 The Hall floods to a newly recorded height of 3ft 6 inches (1.1 metres)


Throughout its lifetime the Hall has witnessed:

30 English and British monarchs

2 Royal Patrons

60 British Prime Ministers

160 international wars and conflicts

177 sovereign states formed


If you’ve not read the first part of our blog click here to find out what other important European building was built in the same year as the Hall! If you have enjoyed this brief insight into the life of the Merchant Adventurers’ Hall, why not come along and see it for yourself? Opening times can be found below.



Sunday - Friday 10:00am - 4:30pm
Saturday 10:00am - 1:30pm

Admission charges apply
Merchants’ Coffee House open to all
Occasionally the Hall is closed for private functions, so you may wish to contact us in advance of your visit.

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