London Sights

Guildhall

  • Aldermanbury Map It
  • The City
  • Archaeological Site/Ruins

Published 08/30/2016

Fodor's Review

The Corporation of London, which oversees The City, has ceremonially elected and installed its Lord Mayor here for the last 800 years. The Guildhall was built in 1411, and though it failed to avoid the conflagrations of either 1666 or 1940, its core survived. The Great Hall is a psychedelic patchwork of coats of arms and banners of the City Livery Companies, which inherited the mantle of the medieval trade guilds. Tradesmen couldn't even run a shop without kowtowing to these prototypical unions, and their grand banqueting halls, the plushest private dining venues in The City, are testimony to the wealth they amassed. Inside the hall, Gog and Magog, the pair of mythical giants who founded ancient Albion (the earliest known name for Britain) and the city of New Troy, on which London was said to have been built, glower down from their west gallery grandstand. The hall was also the site of famous trials, including that of Lady Jane Grey in 1553, before her execution at the Tower of London.

To the right of Guildhall Yard is the Guildhall Art Gallery, which includes portraits of the great and the good, cityscapes, famous battles, and a slightly cloying pre-Raphaelite section. The construction of the gallery in the 1980s led to the exciting discovery of London's only Roman Amphitheater, which had lain underneath Guildhall Yard undisturbed for more than 1,800 years. It was excavated and now visitors can walk among the remains, although most of the relics are now at the Museum of London.

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Sight Information

Address:

Aldermanbury, London, EC2V 5AE, England

Map It

Phone:

020-7606–3030; 020-7332–3700-for gallery

Sight Details:

  • Free (fee for some gallery exhibitions)

Published 08/30/2016

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