Guildhall Galleries & Roman Amphitheatre
Bang in the centre of the Square Mile, the Guildhall has been the City’s seat of government for more than 800 years. The present...
See the banners and shields of London’s 12 principal livery companies, or guilds, which used to wield absolute power throughout the...
St Lawrence Jewry
The Corporation of London’s well-preserved official church was built by Christopher Wren in 1677, but almost completely destroyed during...
Down a quiet little lane off Cheapside, this small cafe attracts queues of City workers for its excellent and good-value Vietnamese...
Guildhall Yard · interesting places nearby
Guildhall Galleries & Roman Amphitheatre information
The Guildhall Art Gallery provides a fascinating look at the politics of the Square Mile over the past few centuries, with a great collection of paintings of London in the 18th and 19th centuries, while the new City of London Heritage Gallery displays documents from the archives. Below the gallery is London's Roman Amphitheatre dating back to the early 2nd century AD.
Among the art gallery's works by (among others) Thomas Lawrence, George Frederick Watts and Lawrence Alma-Tadema is The Defeat of the Floating Batteries (1791) by the the American artist John Singleton Copley, which depicts the British victory at Gibraltar in 1782. This huge oil painting was removed to safety just a month before the gallery was hit by a German bomb in 1941 – it spent 50 years rolled up before a spectacular restoration in 1999.
Sharing the same space, the heritage gallery displays such documents as a 1967 charter from William the Conqueror and a 1297 copy of the Magna Carta.
The archaeological remains of the long-sought Roman amphitheatre (or coliseum) were only discovered in 1988 when work finally began on a new gallery after the original’s destruction in the Blitz. While only a few remnants of the stone walls lining the eastern entrance still stand, they’re imaginatively fleshed out with a black-and-fluorescent-green trompe l'oeil of the missing seating, and computer-meshed outlines of spectators and gladiators. Markings on the square outside the Guildhall indicate the original extent and scale of the amphitheatre, which could seat up to 6000 spectators.