Guildhall

Another in the series on historic secular buildings of the Cities of London and Westminster …

The Guildhall and the surrounding area in the sixteenth century (“Agas” Map)

The Guildhall was originally built sometime before 1128, possibly on the site of an even older building, where the Saxons held their “Husting”, or indoor assembly.  It was subsequently substantially rebuilt between 1298-1356, and rebuilt again, by the Master Mason John Croxton, between 1411-30. 

The exterior of the Guildhall today
The interior of the Great Hall

It was then damaged in the Great Fire of London in 1666, and repaired  in the aftermath, only to be badly damaged in the so-called Second Great Fire of 29th December, 1940, during the Blitz of the Second World War, and repaired again after that. 

A Medieval horn-glass window
Part of the Medieval crypt system

The lower levels of the walls (up to the level of the clerestorey) still survive from the Medieval period, as do some of the original windows, made from slivers of  horn-glass, and the crypts. 

The porch, though, is a later, eighteenth-century addition, by Dance, in a bizarre style described as Hindoo Gothic.  Inside, the famous statues of the mythical giants Gog and Magog replace two sets of earlier ones, the first destroyed in the Great Fire, and the second in the Blitz. 

The outline of the Roman Amphitheatre is marked by a black slate oval in Guildhall Yard

The remains of the Roman Amphitheatre were discovered some 20′ below modern ground level during renovation work on the Medieval Guildhall in 1987.

Amphitheatre

The remains of the Amphitheatre may be viewed in the basement of the Guildhall Art Gallery.

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