History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
HERITAGE HIGHLIGHTS: 15th century flintwork exterior decoration
The Guildhall was built in 1407 to provide space for civic government and administration of justice. The core of the building was completed by 1412, but a west tower and porch were added in 1435. Even then the windows remained unglazed, and it was not until 1453 that the final window received glass. in 1511 the tower collapsed, as well as the roof over the Council Chamber. The roof was repaired but the tower was never rebuilt.
In addition to a court room, the original 15th century building had a small gaol and chapel, an accounting office, and a place for tax collection. There were offices for civic officials including a sheriff, and storage areas for civic regalia, official records, and a strongroom for money. The two main chambers were an Assembly Chamber, which also served as a Sheriff's Court, and a Council Chamber, or Mayor's Court.
Today the ground floor of the hall is let to a number of small businesses; the main area is a cafe at present, and the building is open during cafe hours. The administrative chambers on the upper floor are not usually open to visitors (which was quite a disappointment to me when we visited). Individuals and groups can pre-book tours through the Tourist Information Centre for a small fee.
The Guildhall is a member of Norwich 12, a group of a dozen top heritage attractions in the city.
UPDATE: Great news as of 29 September 2014. Norwich Heritage Economic and Regeneration Trust (HEART) have just signed a 25 year lease for the Guildhall and from 2015 will be making it much more user-friendly and easier to visit, with a series of open days, guided tours, and special events to make it easier and more enjoyable to explore this fascinatying historic building!
About Norwich Guildhall
Address: Gaol Hill, Norwich, Norfolk, England, NR2 1JS
Attraction Type: Historic Building
Location: On the north side of the market place, just downhill of the city hall
Website: Norwich Guildhall
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
Norwich, St Peter Mancroft - 0.1 miles (Historic Church)
Norwich, St John Maddermarket Church - 0.1 miles (Historic Church)
Strangers Hall - 0.1 miles (Museum)
Bridewell Museum - 0.1 miles (Museum)
Norwich, St Stephen's Church - 0.1 miles (Historic Church)
The Assembly House - 0.2 miles (Historic Building)
Norwich Castle - 0.2 miles (Castle)
Armada House - 0.2 miles (Historic Building)
Nearest Accommodation to Norwich Guildhall: