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HQ of London's oldest independent agency wins listed status

An estate agency that has occupied the same London office for 135 years has now seen the property receive formal listed status.

Field & Sons have occupied 54 Borough High Street for the last 135 years but the building dates from the early 18th century and is thought to include earlier fabric.

The local SE1 community website says the building was last month added to the National heritage List for England with a Grade II listed status.


SE1 says the site was at one time an inn known as the Hen and Chickens, and the building kept that name until the late 19th century. According to the historical note included in the listed building record, during the 19th century the building was used as a drapers shop, and in the early 1870s as a hardware shop.

In 1875 it played a role in a celebrated murder case: Henry Wainwright was apprehended as he arrived at the building, then rented by his brother, attempting to hide the decomposing remains of his former mistress.

In 1880 the firm of Field & Sons - which itself was founded even earlier, in 1804 - moved into the building and have occupied it ever since, although the Field family sold the company in 1999.

The agency describes itself as the oldest independent in London with branches in Kennington, Shad Thames and Limehouse in addition to its main office on Borough High Street. 

SE1 says the reasons for listing include the fact that "the building retains valuable and legible evidence of a number of historical periods" and that "the ground floor office is a remarkably complete late-19th century commercial interior, including wooden panelling, chimney pieces, and glazed screens".


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