Address: Gresham Street, London EC2V 7HH

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Phone: +44 (0) 207 606 3030

700m from Moorgate

350m from Bank

The Guildhall is the administrative centre of the City area of London, the area that includes much of the financial district, with the name Guildhall referring to both the building and the main hall. It’s used today primarily for functions with its administrative needs being conducted from a nearby modern building. The most famous function each year is the Lord Mayor’s Banquet attended by the Prime Minister.

The site dates back to Roman times when it was an amphitheatre. There are Roman parts visible today in the art gallery and the outline of the amphitheatre is marked in the paving outside. Legend tells of two giants, Gog and Magog, who were associated with the area at this time and today they are a symbol of the building with carvings of them being found inside. The Great Hall is believed to be in the place of a Saxon hall that was used for tax collection. Their word for payment was ‘gild’, so it was the gild hall.

Today’s building originates from a rebuilding in 1441 with the stonework mostly surviving the Great Fire of London of 1666. Much of the old interiors remain from medieval times which makes it such a special place. The building was used at times as a public court with trials over the years including those of Lady Jane Grey, Thomas Cranmer and Henry Garnet, a conspirator in the Gunpowder Plot.

A main entrance was added in the 18th century and renovations including roofwork were done in the 19th century. Further roofwork was needed after World War II bomb damage, this being done under Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, designer of both Battersea and Bankside Power Stations.

There are a number of areas in the complex today and these include the Guildhall Art Gallery and the library. The building is open to the public during the annual London Open House weekend.

Steeped in history, this is one of the best London landmarks for historians and a highlight of a trip to the City district.

Click on the pics below for an enlarged view and use the arrow towards the right edge of each pic to go on to the next.