Forget the restrictions that usually come with booking a grand listed building. Annica Wainwright finds the defendant not guilty.
It’s been over four years since Square Meal first introduced the London Venue Focus articles, but despite now having a fair few site visits under our belt, we still find ourselves amazed at the
capital’s broad range of events space. What’s come as less of a surprise is that the simple request ‘tell us more about your venue’, when put to a sales manager, will invariably result in a whole
lot of superlatives.
Had Heidi Carlson of The Law Society’s Hall followed the lead of most interviewees, she would perhaps have gone on about how beautiful her venue was (though, considering we’d just been on a
show-round, she’d be preaching to the converted) or, indeed, what lovely food it could supply. Instead, she decided to begin with an apologetic explanation as to why the venue had recently become
non-smoking (popular demand, apparently).
Before you ask, she hadn’t caught me reaching for the Marlboros. Rather, it seemed as if she wanted to get the ‘don’ts’ out of the way first so we could focus on the ‘dos’. The Law Society’s Hall,
you see, is a venue that prides itself on being both historic and flexible – a rare combination. As Lord explains: ‘Event organisers often find grand listed buildings a hassle to work in. Many of
them will only have a few rooms available to hire and, as they’re often in residential areas, you also have to think about the neighbours.’
Not so at The Law Society’s Hall. ‘We’re really flexible,’ says Lord, noting that the large range of rooms and ample syndicate space may make the venue particularly well suited to conferences but
adding that it also caters wonderfully to evening events. ‘Clients who are planning a dinner like the fact they can try the food beforehand in our restaurant and the chefs are always happy to
design bespoke menus. For parties, we have a 1am liquor licence and there are no restrictions on amplified music.’
A civil wedding licence is another feature, with the grand, pillared Reading Room making a lovely setting for formal receptions, while sweeping staircases provide great backdrops for photos. Being
on the edge of the City, which tends to be quiet at weekends, the venue is often available for exclusive use, meaning couples can take their pick of the rooms for the post-nuptial reception.
Sounds like a very flexible venue to us, but do event organisers feel the same? We asked Emma Sheridan, the regional school travel advisor at Transport for London, who recently used The Law
Society’s Hall for a conference of 200 delegates, for her verdict.
‘I would definitely agree with that,’ she says. ‘The events team went out of their way to help at every stage, from choosing the food to organising AV equipment and staff. They even allowed us to
deliver materials and displays in advance and were on hand throughout the actual day to help sort out the last-minute panics that always seem to be part of events.’
Sheridan says she would definitely use The Law Society’s Hall again, whether for another large conference or a smaller meeting – and she’d have plenty of opportunity to do so. The wide range of
space on offer ranges from light and bright meeting rooms, such as the Chancery, Breams and Fetter, which can be combined to accommodate larger events, to the all-purpose Common Room (our
particular favourite), where rich dark-wood panelling is offset by beautiful stained-glass windows. All can be hired on their own or in any number of combinations and – you’ve guessed it – carry
very few restrictions.
The feature was published in the Summer 2005 issue of Square Meal The Magazine