London Guildhall
London Guildhall
The London Guildhall is the historic headquarters of London's city government. At the centre of this complex of medieval and modern buildings is the 14th century great hall, built between 1411 and 1440 on the site of an earlier hall which might have been in existence since the reign of Edward the Confessor (1043-1066.
The hall is built over a crypt, the oldest surviving crypt in London The western half of the crypt dates to the 13th century.

At 46 metres in length, the Guildhall is the third largest medieval hall in England, after Westminster Hall and the Great Hall of the Archbishop's Palace at Canterbury.

The Guildhall was built to provide a suitable venue for London's city government, for the meetings of the Court of Common Council, and as the seat of the Lord Mayor and Sherriff of London.

In addition, it was used as a place to hold important trials. Among the memorable trials held at the Guildhall are those of Anne Askew (1546), the Earl of Surrey (1546), Lady Jane Grey and her husband, Guildford Dudley (1553), and Archbishop Cranmer (also 1553).

Though the Guildhall was heavily damaged in the Great Fire of 1666, the walls survived, and the interior was rebuilt. It was enlarged in the late 17th century, and again a century later.

In 1862 a minstrels gallery was added at the west end, and here can be seen statues of the two mythical giants Gog and Magog, symbols of the city. These giant statues were carved by David Evans to replace earlier statues of 1708 that were destroyed in air raids during World War II.

In a window embrasure you can see brass rods which acted as the official length measurements for one foot, two feet, and a yard.

There are several large, imposing statues to 'men of national importance' lining the hall. The choice of who made the grade is intriguing; here you will find memorials to William Pitt (elder and younger), Sir Winston Churchill, Admiral Nelson, and the Duke of Wellington, but also the much less known Willliam Beckford, a former Lord Mayor.

Immediately to the east of the Guildhall is the Guildhall Library, a modern building housing the art collection of the Corporation of London. Beneath the pavement of Guildhall Yard are the remains of a Roman amphitheatre discovered during construction work. These remains can be seen in the basement of the Guildhall Library.