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The New Home for the Royal Philatelic Society London

15 Abchurch Lane, London EC4N 7BW

Supporting Tomorrow's Royal

Most members will know, either from personal contact or through the pages of The London Philatelist, that one of the most difficult issues addressed by your Council has been that of the buildings at 41 Devonshire Place. Those of you who have been Members or Fellows of the Society for longer may know that this was a question which had been facing the Council for almost twenty years.

At its meeting on 9 November 2016, Council decided to look for alternative premises. The sale of 41 Devonshire Place was completed on 7 July 2017, and since then the Society has been leasing the premises from the new owners.

The search for suitable new premises to buy was a complex and at times fast-moving process, involving the Society and our Estate Agents (Gerald Eve) finding and assessing the suitability, value and affordability, of available properties.

On 8 December 2017 the Society was very pleased to be able to report the completion of the purchase of a building in the City of London. The purchase has been subject to a Non-Disclosure Agreement for commercial reasons, but as that Agreement has come to an end, we are now able to explain where the building is located. The building has presence and gravitas, and its location in the City of London will help the Society develop in the future. The Society will move into its new home when our lease at 41 Devonshire Place expires in July 2019.

 

2nd July 2018 Update
  Stage 3 Plans

At its meeting on 28th June 2018, our professional advisors presented Council with the Stage 3 plans, including a document showing plans and sectional (axonometric) views of how the building will look when it becomes our new premises. You can view this interesting document by clicking here.
 
Further information about the Stage 3 documents can be found in the Members' area of the website.

The Gresham Club, founded 1843, moved to 15 Abchurch Lane in 1915. Designed by William Campbell Jones, the building has five storeys above ground level and two basement levels.

The building has always been a club, and it is presently occupied by the London Capital Club that will be vacating the premises on 31 July 2018. The Society has been fortunate to acquire the freehold and will be refurbishing the building with the intention of moving from 41 Devonshire Place in June 2019.

It is constructed of a combination of brick and structural steel frame which supports a Portland stone façade to ground, first and second floor levels on Abchurch Lane. This façade is richly carved in a style partially taken from the church next door, St Mary Abchurch, first mentioned in 1198–1199, which was rebuilt by the office of Sir Christopher Wren in 1681–1686 after its destruction in the Great Fire of London.

An Historic Location

Abchurch Lane, first recorded as Abbechurche Lane in 1291, is a narrow street linking Cannon Street and King William Street which bisects it. The site was part of the old Roman city, and a Roman wall was excavated nearby in 1855.

Remarkably, it has a number of philatelic connections. The printing firm of Blades & East, later Blades, East & Blades, responsible for the first stamp issues of North Borneo, was at 11, and later 23, Abchurch Lane. As is widely known, Perkins, Bacon & Petch were the printers of the Penny Black. With its demise in 1935, a new company was formed called Perkins Bacon Ltd. It was owned by John Hubbard (1902-1976), past president of the Royal and its address was 22 Abchurch Lane, London EC4. Change Alley and Birkin Lane, where office boys bought, sold and exchanged stamps from the City trading houses as early as the 1860s, are close by.

The Corsini Correspondence is familiar to postal historians. The Florentine merchants, brothers Filippo and Bartholomew Corsini, lived in Gratious Street, now known as Gracechurch Street. Their archive was the only commercial correspondence addressed to the City of London known to have survived the Great Fire of 1666. Their home was a few minutes from our new home in Abchurch Lane, in the same ancient ward of Candlewick, one of the 25 electoral districts in the City of London.

The Society is moving to the heart of the old City of London, and there is much to recommend the move.

Inside the Building

Rather than try to describe the inside of the building, we have compiled a pack of pictures that show each of the rooms, floor by floor. You can view this by clicking here. Note that currently, this shows the building as it is presently, in use by the London Capital Club. In due course, the pack will be updated to show plans and illustrations of how it will look when it becomes our new premises.

Getting to Abchurch Lane

Public transport, always good in London, is excellent. The nearest underground station is Bank, with a new entrance with step-free access to the Northern Line scheduled to open on the corner of Nicholas Lane and Cannon Street in 2022. There will be building work and some disruption until then. Bank Station is four stops from Kings Cross St Pancras and the Eurostar, five from Euston, and both taking less than fifteen minutes. The Central Line, London’s longest, extends from beyond Northolt in the west to Epping Forest in the east.

Cannon Street railway station is a short walk away, within five minutes of Abchurch Lane. Liverpool Street, serving Stansted Airport is one stop on the underground and the Waterloo & City Line serves Waterloo Station, both taking less than five minutes from station to station. Victoria station is 25 minutes away.

From Bank via the Docklands Light Railway takes just over 20 minutes to City Airport. Heathrow, Gatwick and Luton will need about 75 minutes in transit time, plus walking at the terminals.

In and around Abchurch Lane

Next door in Abchurch Yard, which is a pleasant cobbled square outside St Mary Abchurch, are The Vintry, a Fuller’s public house, and Harry’s Bar, both serving drinks and food. From the budget Travelodge at Bank to the five star Threadneedles, Autograph Collection by Marriott, there are hotels and restaurants nearby, and the rest of London remains easily accessible.