Guildhall :: Visitors' Map of London :: A-Z Maps


O Lord direct us', reads the motto high above the doorway to this centre of the City of London's civic government for more than 1000 years. Stonework of the Great Hall and porch date from 1411-39, the crypt has one of the few medieval secular vaults surviving both the Great Fire 1666 and 1940 bombs. Restoration was completed in 1954, the oak roof being the fifth to span the ancient hall. Interesting features include the banners and wall frieze depicting the Arms of the 12 principal Livery Companies, the Arms of England and the City; shields of 84 Livery Companies incorporated in the roof design; the 9ft 3inch Gog and Magog statues and many monuments.

The Great Hall is the third largest civic hall in England, where royalty and state visitors have been entertained down the centuries. It has been the setting for famous state trials, including that of Lady Jane Grey in 1553. It is used for the Presentation of the Freedom of the City and other civic functions. Here the Livery Companies annually elect the new Lord Mayor and Sheriffs. The Lord Mayor's procession is held on the second Saturday in November and the banquet the following Monday.

A modern extension contains the Guildhall Library, a major public reference library specialising in the history of London, especially the City. It incorporates the Clockmaker's Company Museum. The Guildhall Art Gallery features both the collection of the Corporation of London-particularly rich in Victorian Art and the dramatic remains of the Roman Amphitheatre preserved within the modern building.

See Also: Guildhall Art Gallery, Guildhall Library, London's Roman Amphitheatre, City of London (District)

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