Chartered Accountants' Hall, headquarters of ICAEW in the City of London, was built between 1890 and 1893. The substantial members' room (formerly the library) has a gallery and balustraded indoor bridge inspired by the Rialto Bridge in Venice.
Chartered Accountants' Hall was designed in the 1880s by architect John Belcher, who used a Baroque Revival style inspired by Baroque architecture he had observed while travelling in Europe.
For the substantial former library (now the Members' Room), Belcher added an imposing gallery and dramatic lantern-lit bridge spanning the room, inspired by the Rialto Bridge in the great trading city of Venice. It is believed to be the only example of an indoor bridge in the UK, and was said to be Belcher's favourite room.
The room has undergone some reconstruction in the 1930s, prompted by the need to adapt the space for the demands of members. Originally there were two fireplaces in the room at opposite ends, but one was demolished to create additional shelving space for books. There is a bust of the architect, John Belcher, created by Hamo Thornycroft, atop the remaining stone chimney-piece.
The Members' Room was last used as the main members' library in June-December 2008 as an interim measure during the construction of the new Business Centre.
In August 2022 award-winning British artist Alexander Beleschenko added three new stained glass windows into this room, featuring an intricate arrangement of predominantly grey, blue, orange, purple, green and yellow geometric shapes and patterns. Beleschenko has written an 'Artist's view' of his creative process for the Architects' Journal (Donald Insall refreshes Grade II*-listed Accountants Hall), describing the artwork as "a combination of realism and abstraction", inspired by details in the decoration seen elsewhere in the building.
The Members' Room also received general restoration work during 2022, with the addition of bespoke fitted joinery to reinstate lost bookshelves in the former library.
The room is on a grand scale and is full of rich and varied ornamentation."
Based on his love of Italy, Sir John Belcher designed this iconic and charming space featuring a balustrade bridge in the style of the Rialto Bridge in Venice. The bridge is framed by display cabinets of rare books and large stone pillars.
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.
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