Armoury House, which is the home of the HAC, was built to replace a smaller seventeenth- century armoury. The central portion was completed in 1735 to designs by Thomas Stibbs. The building cost £1,690, which included the cost of the furniture. King George I (who died in 1727) gave the Company £500; subscriptions were also received from members of the Company and from the Commission of Lieutenancy for the City of London.
Central to the original interior on the ground floor was a Great Room which was used for drills. It is now divided into an entrance hall, The Queen’s Room and the Ante Room. The only known surviving stone rover, or archery mark, and the bell of SS Westmeath, the ship that transported members of the HAC 1st Battalion to France in 1914, are above the Great Stairs on either side of the door leading into the Long Room. In the Long Room can be seen several portraits of Royal Captain-Generals and of Colonel Commandants of the Company. The Court Room is used for meetings of the Court of Assistants and other committees. It retains many of its eighteenth-century features and houses one of the Company’s oldest possessions, a suit of sixteenth-century tilting armour. The Sutling Room contains a bar and is only open to members of the Company and their guests. Its name is derived from the verb ‘to suttle’, meaning ‘to provide with food and drink’, originally from the Dutch word ‘soeteler’ (a man who sold provisions to soldiers).
The east and west wings of Armoury House were built in 1828. A cottage (known as the Sergeant’s Cottage), which houses the Library and Board Room, was built against the west wing in 1850. In 1901 a third storey was added to both wings. The second floor of the east wing houses the Company Office, while the second floor of the west wing has been converted into bedrooms for members.
At the rear and adjoining Armoury House is a Victorian drill hall. Originally known as the Albert Room (after the late Prince Consort), it was completed in 1862 and was extended at both ends during the Second World War. The hall was rebuilt and renamed the Prince Consort Rooms, being formally opened by the Captain-General in 2007 during one of Her Majesty’s many visits to the Company.
Armoury House is in frequent use for parties, balls, dinners and dances as well as for meetings and other functions, and rooms are available for hire. If you require further information please visit the Corporate Events website. You can also click here to view the Armoury House photo gallery.