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 ground floor ex-courtroom hosts a cafe at present, and the building is open during cafe hours. As of spring 2018, experienced guides run a tour of the administrative chambers on the upper floor on Monday afternoons. Additionally, groups can pre-book tours through the Tourist Information Centre. (There are charges for the tours.)
Though the exterior of the building is extremely impressive, it seems a shame that tours of the inside are so limited! We were so disappointed not to have been there at a time when we could view the inside. Lest that sound like sour grapes, let me make clear that the Guildhall is extremely impressive; its really an eye-catching building, and the decorative flintwork and carvings on the exterior are exceptional.
The Guildhall is a member of Norwich 12, a group of a dozen top heritage attractions in the city.
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
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
NEARBY HISTORIC ATTRACTIONS
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low to 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: