Guildhall

Historic Building in The City

Guildhall has been the City’s seat of government for more than 800 years. At its centre, the Great Hall dates from the early 15th century and is positively Hogwartsian in its Gothic grandeur. It's the only remaining secular stone structure to have survived the Great Fire of 1666, although it was severely damaged both then and during the Blitz of 1940.

Inside it's hung with the banners and shields of London’s 12 principal livery companies, or guilds, which used to wield immense power throughout the city. The lord mayor and two sheriffs are still elected annually in the vast open hall. Among the monuments to look out for are statues of Winston Churchill, Admiral Nelson, the Duke of Wellington and both Prime Ministers William Pitt (the Elder and the Younger).

In the upper gallery, at the western end, are statues of the biblical giants Gog and Magog, traditionally considered to be guardians of the City – today’s figures replaced similar 18th-century statues destroyed in the Blitz. The Guildhall’s stained glass was also blown out during the bombing, but a modern window in the southwestern corner depicts the city’s history – look for London’s most famous lord mayor, Richard ‘Dick’ Whittington, with his famous cat, a scene of the Great Fire and even the Lloyd's of London building.

To visit the Great Hall, enter through the reception of the City's modern administration block.


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