Latest News

A range of items of interest to the Membership

Clothworkers' Hall - Response to COVID-19 Pandemic

19 March 2020

Portrait: Master (2019-20)Dear All,

You may have been contacted this week to announce the postponement or cancellation of events at Clothworkers’ Hall, scheduled for the coming weeks, as a result of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. We will continue to update members and guests regarding future events on a case-by-case basis as the situation in London – and the UK – continues to develop.

You also need to know that office staff for both The Company and The Foundation are now working remotely until further notice. This means that the Hall is effectively closed, with the exception of necessary maintenance and security services. The best way to reach The Company is to email us at; your message will be forwarded to the appropriate staff member(s).

I am glad to be able to assure you that the ‘business’ of The Company, including the committees that govern our operations, continues apace, with discussions and meetings being conducted remotely.

I am writing so that all Clothworkers and our wonderful staff receive the same clear message. We are not taking these decisions lightly. We have been working hard to make responsible and strategic choices in reacting to the present situation and planning for the future.

On Monday, our government announced new measures to slow down the spread of the virus. The Prime Minister asked the nation to ‘avoid all non-essential contact with other people’ – specifically to avoid mass gatherings and work from home where possible. This has changed the landscape, especially when it is clear the government’s major concern is London itself and the ability of the NHS to cope with the numbers of critically ill patients. We want to assure you that we will continue to monitor government advice – and recommendations from the World Health Organisation, Public Health England and the National Health Service – to ensure we are doing whatever is necessary for the health and wellbeing of our community during this difficult and unprecedented time.

The Clothworkers’ Company and The Clothworkers’ Foundation are wonderful organisations, and the much needed and valued philanthropic work we fund – and do – continues even as the events and member-orientated activities are put on hold. For example, as an immediate response to the current crisis, The Company has already made a donation of £15k to The Trussell Trust, a charity that supports a nationwide network of food banks in providing emergency food and support to those in need. The Foundation is currently liaising with other major grant-making organisations to determine how it might best assist in a wider effort to meet need during this time, and a decision will be taken by trustees over coming days.
I am proud to be the Master of The Clothworkers’ Company, with its resilient and resourceful team, during these uncertain times. I very much hope to be writing to you soon to say that we have been encouraged to re-open for business, and look forward to welcoming you back to Clothworkers’ Hall in the future.

Until then, I hope and pray you stay calm, safe and well. We recommend that everyone monitors advice from the NHS website:

At the same time, I encourage all of us to emulate The Clothworkers’ philanthropic spirit and think what we can do to help the elderly, vulnerable and sick near us, while taking the necessary precautions for personal health and safety. We would love to hear your stories: please keep in touch with us by emailing our Membership and Communications Manager, Renée LaDue (, or connecting with us on social media – you can find us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Posted on behalf of
Sir Jonathan Portal Bt
Master, The Clothworkers' Company

Clothworkers' Hall is Currently Closed

March 2020

Clothworkers' Hall is currently closed. Staff, where possible, are working remotely and members have been notified about relevant event or meeting alterations or cancellations.

read more

50 Fenchurch Street

Including a proposal for The Clothworkers' seventh livery hall

The Clothworkers’ Company has been on its existing site since its founding in 1528, when The Fullers’ and The Shearmen united and decided to remain at Shearmen’s Hall on Mincing Lane.

Over the centuries, Clothworkers’ Hall has changed out of opportunity or necessity – such as the destruction of the third hall by The Great Fire of London (1666) and that of the fifth hall by The Blitz (1941). The hall we are all familiar with today is the sixth on this historic site, opened in 1958. It is our home and the scene of fellowship among members. But it is also our place of work, where we fulfil our civic duties to the City of London, manage our extensive assets and strive to meet our commitments to our textiles partners, our military affiliates, our partners in championing good charity governance, and – in particular – to The Clothworkers’ Foundation. For nearly 500 years, generous bequests from Clothworkers and other benefactors, coupled with wise investments by the Court, have enabled The Company to thrive and grow not only its assets, but also its impact through grant-making.

Recently, by way of a letter to members, we announced our plans for the evolution of Clothworkers’ Hall, securing its future here in the City of London and maximising our assets to increase our charitable impact. We have a bold proposal for the development of a new Livery Hall, commercial building and public realm at 50 Fenchurch Street – an island site that currently comprises Clothworkers’ Hall, Minster House, 46-50 Fenchurch Street, 51-54 Fenchurch Street, the former St Olave Parish Hall, the Grade I listed All Hallows Staining Tower and the Grade II Lambe’s Chapel Crypt.

As you will see in the slideshow below, the new commercial development ('50 Fenchurch Street'), will be at the forefront of the City of London’s strategy for a greener, more environmentally sustainable Square Mile. The development team is aiming for a BREEAM Excellent rating, by incorporating the latest technology to minimise energy consumption, with waste reduced and recycled. Vertical greening, to the outside of the commercial tower, will assist in the reduction of urban heat and air pollution. The 35-floor commercial building will not only provide 62,800 sq m (675,000 sq ft) of office and retail space, it will also create a new public realm at level 10, with a roof garden and year-round winter garden. At ground level, we will create 1,500 sq m (16,000 sq ft) of public space to open up the line of sight from Fenchurch Street Station and also improve access to the historic church tower and crypt.

The new Clothworkers’ Hall will be designed with our future needs in mind – including the responsible management of our historic assets, together with the comfort and wellbeing of our staff, members and guests. It is important to all of us that we take the time necessary to plan properly for our seventh hall on this historic site, and we look forward to sharing those plans with you – as they develop – in the months to come.

Members were invited to the Public Exhibition on Wednesday, 20 November (12 noon – 6pm) or Thursday, 21 November (3pm – 7pm) at the former St Olave Parish Hall, Mark Lane, London EC3R 7LQ (near Clothworkers' Hall). The slideshow below was intended for those unable to attend the public exhibition, to ensure all members have access to information regarding our proposal.

Use the backward / forward arrows ( "<" or ">" ) in the bottom-left corner of the slideshow to navigate through the presentation.


Where are we in the process?

  • As of November 2019, we are communicating our plans to members and key stakeholders in the community, including holding a public exhibition in (20-21 November 2019).
  • We hope to submit our application for planning permission by the end of 2019, or early 2020.

When will all of this happen?

  • We are in the very early stages of the process, preparing to submit our application for planning permission, and the plans for the commercial tower and livery hall are likely to evolve in the coming months.
  • A development is not certain and, if it were to proceed, work on site could not begin before 2022.
  • There would be an estimated 10 months of demolition (including archaeological and conservation activities).
  • If a development proceeds, it is estimated that the building of a commercial tower and new Livery Hall would take an additional four years.

What will we do whilst the new Livery Hall is in development?  

  • We are currently carefully considering all our options for continuing The Company’s and The Foundation’s ongoing operations, providing for staff and continuing to run events, etc.
  • Our firm commitment is to continue offering members a programme of events (as close as possible to our normal programme), but in an alternative venue whilst we demolish and rebuild our own Livery Hall.
  • However, we cannot make any concrete plans until we are certain the project can move forward successfully.
  • We will use the e-newsletter and the Clothworker Magazine to communicate our plans, as they evolve and become finalized, throughout the process.


Property Update: 50 Fenchurch Street

November 2019

Read more about our proposals for 50 Fenchurch Street and a new Clothworkers' Hall.

read more

Amber Sorayapour Wins the TexSelect Interiors Prize

Sponsored by The Clothworkers' Company

Master Jonathan Portal and Past Master Christopher McLean May attended the Premiere Vision exhibition in Paris this September to award the TexSelect Interiors Prize to Amber Sorayapour from Bath Spa University. Her work demonstrates a passion for colour, often juxtaposing the elaborate patterns found in nature to create dramatically coloured illustrative print designs.

Amber was also shortlisted for the Marks and Spencer Fashion Fabric Prize and earned the New Designers Harlequin Prize this past June. At New Designers, judges said Amber created 'glamorous statements for the home'. They continued, 'Her collection celebrates the joy of pattern and colour, embracing the trend for a maximalist interior'. As a result, Amber will have the chance to take up a three-week internship at one of the Harlequin studios.

See more from this up-and-coming textile designer on Instagram: @AmberSorayapour_Textiles.

We hope to see Amber at the Alumni Dinner on 23 September. Sponsorship of the TexSelect Interiors Prize helps The Company meet its strategic objective to encourage innovation and foster talent among students and young designers.

2019 TexSelect Interiors Prize

September 2019

Congratulations to Amber Sorayapour, winner of TexSelect 2019 Interiors Prize, sponsored by The Clothworkers' Company.

read more

Will You Help Judge the Charity Governance Awards 2020?

As you may know, The Clothworkers’ Company is the principal sponsor and host of the annual Charity Governance Awards. We are currently preparing for the 2020 awards, and we are looking to recruit Clothworker members – the Court, Livery and Freedom – to help us with the first round of judging, creating a long list of entries for the attention of our Judges from the Sector (for the second round of judging). Clothworker volunteers have always been essential to the judging process, and will continue to be indispensable for the 2020 awards.  

We are looking for volunteers willing to be involved in the first round of judging entries. Last year, nearly 60 members took part in the judging process – we heard from many of them that it was an interesting and rewarding experience.

Judging is an electronic task, to be carried out at your convenience, taking place from 31 January to 17 February. You will be able to return to the entries throughout that time; you do not need to complete the task in one session. We will provide guidance for judges across all the award categories.

Each judge will be asked to assess 3-6 entries according to a pre-set rubric. The bulk of the entry form focuses on the charity’s responses to five or six (depending on the category) questions; respondents are able to use up to 1,500 words in total to respond. This is a critical step in the success of our awards programme, and we rely on our committed and diligent Clothworker judges to progress the project to the second round of judging.

Registering your interest
If you are interested in becoming a judge, please sign up before 31 October using the link below:

We are inviting all members of The Company who have served as trustees, or been involved in the governance of charities/non-profit organisations, to register their interest in becoming a judge.

Closer to February, we will be in touch with further information about how to log in to the judges’ website portal to review the entries.
We hope you will get involved in the Awards, which proudly bear our branding – demonstrating our commitment to supporting good charitable governance.

P.S. Please help us spread the word to potential charity applicants - entry is free and the winning charity in each category receives an unrestricted grant of £5,000 as a prize! The awards open to potential applicants on 1 October 2019, and the application deadline is 22 January 2020.

Judge the Charity Governance Awards?

September 2019

We're recruiting Clothworker judges for the Charity Governance Awards 2020

read more

Livery Advocates Pilot - Interim Report

Independent evaluation by TSIP regarding the completion of cohort 1 

Project Summary

The Livery Advocates Pilot Programme seeks to unlock social capital. This means empowering people to gain confidence in their abilities, pursue their aspirations and reduce the employment gap

Candidates from Catch22 services ( people facing barriers to work) meet in groups with Advocates (members of Livery Companies) to do joint activities and build relationships.

Who participates?

Candidates are from Catch22 employability services. The program is open to 18+ and current candidates are ages 18 40. They face barriers to work such as single parenthood, learning difficulties, criminal records and mental health challenges.

Advocates are enthusiastic volunteers from four Livery companies, the Clothworkers ’, Skinners’, Haberdashers’ and Goldsmiths We are running 2 cohorts (with 2 recruitment cycles) to learn throughout the pilot.

How does it work?

Candidates and Advocates meet monthly in facilitated groups to do activities and build relationships.

Activities include:

- Professional Journey speed interviews learning about Advocates’ backgrounds

- Personal Brand reflections on how to market personal and career journeys

- Entrepreneurial Mindset Advocates candidly shared experiences of success and failure

- The “Super Entrepreneur reflecting on how to nurture certain professional characteristics

- Dragon’s Den Candidates pitched business proposals, and Advocates offered focused, expert feedback, enabling a potentially stressful activity in a nurturing environment

- Dream Job Interview Advocates sat on the panel for the Candidates’ dream job

- Practising difficult conversations role playing difficult professional situations

Initial Success Indicators

Although early in the programme, initial results show that both Advocates and Candidates are benefitting. Initial success indicators:

- High retention rate 18 of the 19 participants have persisted with the programme. Sessions have relevant, engaging content and programme is tailored to individual needs

- Candidate spreading learning one Candidate has started WhatsApp and Facebook groups with her university classmates where she disseminates learning from the programme

- Candidate speaking at a staff conference one Candidate recently spoke at Catch22’s annual staff conference he co ran an interactive session titled ‘Confidence and me’

- Inclusive environment the programme is adapting and doing whatever it can to remove any barriers to their getting this much needed support. We have two single mothers taking part on the programme and in some sessions, children join us

- External interest LinkedIn executive reposted blog written by Programme Manager on this project: “So good to see the work being done to close the network gap that prevents people from fully realizing economic opportunity.”

Initial Insights

Candidates spoke positively about their experience in initial focus groups. They have:

- Gained new skills

- Received guidance and structure to develop their own business ideas

- Learned from “seasoned Advocates”

- Interacted with people they wouldn’t normally meet

- Been encouraged and provided with tools to “build their future”

- Enjoyed working with the Project Manager

- Found Advocates approachable, naturally gravitating toward some over others

- Gained insight into how others perceive them

- Become more confident in terms of their “business mentality”


“It’s allowed me to see myself in a different way, or how other people see me I suppose, and you don’t always get that feedback from people!” (Candidate)

“I’ve been able to have conversations and understanding with the Advocates and got a lot of encouragement and tools that can help me to build my future” (Candidate)

“When I first came here, my business plan that I pitched to Dragon’s Den, I’ve just been sitting on since I was fourteen years of age it’s never come out to see the light of day. So now that I’ve done this programme, not only do I understand how I can do it, but there are steps for me to even test the waters before I even take it further” (Candidate)

Find our more on the Catch22 website.

Livery Advocates Pilot - Interim Report

August 2019

Interim Progress Report on the Livery Advocates Pilot.

read more