The Hospitality Company
Friends House Hospitality Ltd is a fully owned trading subsidiary of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). It was formed in 2007 and is responsible for providing a fully-managed facilities service at Friends House. Our staff looks after the meeting rooms, The Light, the Café, the Restaurant and the building maintenance. The company also manages Swarthmoor Hall, in Cumbria, the cradle of Quakerism, which now hosts The Hall, holiday accommodation, a café and meeting rooms.
The Hospitality Company is committed to Quaker values such as simplicity, truth, equality, peace and sustainability. This is why the environment is at the core of what we do. Green energy, local sourcing of produce, fair pricing and fair pay for staff are among the things which define us as an ethical company. As a Living Wage employer, we pay our staff above the London Living Wage. Those commitments embody “the friendly way”:
How we treat customers is how we treat our staff, which is reflected in our support for communities/the wider world and the respect shown to our suppliers, because what we do is rooted in how we treat ourselves.
Friends House building
Friends House was built between 1924 and 1927. The building was designed by Hubert Lidbetter, who won the RIBA bronze medal for “best building erected in London” in 1927. It was originally intended for Quaker annual gatherings (Yearly Meeting). The building’s design specification included a Meeting House to seat at least 1,500 Friends (Quakers) for Yearly Meeting, a library and several rooms to meet and worship.
Today, Friends House is the central offices of Quakers in Britain and still welcomes Britain Yearly Meeting (BYM), once every other year during Spring bank holiday weekend. The building has had many renovations and improvements since 1927, starting with the Meeting House also known as the Large Meeting House. In 2014, following a year of renovation work, it was relaunched as The Light, our 1,000 seater auditorium. It now includes a glass roof light to provide natural light and a 200m2 flat floor for exhibition layouts.
The Light is a standalone venue located on the ground floor of Friends House. The 31 other meeting and conference spaces are located on the lower ground-floor, ground-floor, 1st floor and 2nd floor, while the 3rd floor is dedicated to Quakers in Britain offices.