The Barber Surgeons are one of the old livery companies of the City. They started out as just barbers. Surgeons are a relatively modern invention, and one which in years past was considered to have more in common with barbers than doctors. They both had the same motto: “How would you like it cut?”
Barber Surgeons Hall, built on the present site in 1441, was lost in the Great Fire of London in 1666. The hall was rebuilt and lost again, this time to the Luftwaffe in 1940, along with the rest of the old Barbican. The present hall was built in 1969.
You should pay a visit Barber Surgeons Hall’s garden. You go down the steps behind St Giles’ church, towards Wallside, where you will see an extension of the lake which you may not have guessed was there. You cross that, go round the remains of a mediaeval tower, and you will find yourself in a half-garden, half-abandoned ruin. If you then walk uphill slightly towards London Wall, you will find Barber Surgeons’ hall and garden on your left.
The main gardens have attractive flower beds and trees. More interesting, however, is the Herb Garden which they have created to reincarnate one which was constructed by their predecessors in Tudor times.