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Entrance Hall and Staircase

A brief history and overview of the Entrance Hall and main Staircase at Chartered Accountants' Hall, home to ICAEW since 1893.

Chartered Accountants' Hall, headquarters of ICAEW in the City of London, was built between 1890 and 1893. The original pilastered entrance hall, fronting on Moorgate Place, was designed by the architect John Belcher RA.



John Belcher's grand hallway design features a pilastered entrance hall, with a coffered panelled ceiling inspired by the sixteenth century Italian architect Alessi's ornate Palazzo Cambiaso in Genoa. As part of the 1970s refurbishment programme, the previously white ceiling had its details highlighted with blue, red, white, gold and grey paint. It incorporates the letters 'ICA' (to stand for 'Institute of Chartered Accountants') repeatedly in its pattern.


The imposing staircase originally featured four stained-glass windows by renowned stained glass artist Henry Holiday, completed in 1898. Holiday's original 1897 watercolour designs for the windows are housed in the Prints, Drawings & Paintings collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. They celebrate different aspects of the accountancy profession - law, enterprise, commerce and finance.

The windows have an interesting history, as they were removed in 1970 during the William Whitfield extension work, and then sold and subsequently acquired by Peter Grant, manager of the rock band Led Zeppelin. The four windows then languished in storage in Grant's barn for nearly five decades. After his death, his family rediscovered the windows and put them up for auction, where they were serendipitously discovered by the ICAEW Foundation and reacquired.

Holiday's windows were re-installed in 2017, a year ahead of the 125th anniversary of the building's opening, and are now positioned in the entrance to the Great Hall. 

Further sources of information


Hall and staircase, Chartered Accountants Hall
Chartered Accountants Hall entrance hall and staircase, photographed 1893
View on staircase, Chartered Accountants Hall
Chartered Accountants Hall staircase, photographed 1893
Henry Holiday window 1 - Britannia establishing organization
Henry Holiday stained glass window

Image gallery

Further sources of information

The ICAEW Library & Information Service holds a collection of books and articles on Chartered Accountants' Hall, covering the original building and the later extensions. See our Further reading page for details of these, as well as links to web pages on the sculptors and artists whose work decorates the building.

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One Moorgate Place

Information on how to hire One Moorgate Place, home of Chartered Accountants' Hall, for conferences, meetings, weddings, parties, private dining and special occasions.

Main Reception Room