History

Home to the City of London Corporation for over 800 years

Guildhall has been at the hub of City life since the Middle Ages - an era when the Lord Mayor of London rivalled the monarch for influence and prestige. Here the ruling merchant class held court, fine-tuning the laws and regulations that established London's wealth. Built between 1411 and 1440, Guildhall was designed to reflect the power and prestige of London and its leaders.

Royal coat of arms c.1670, originally from the Wren church of 3 St Michael Bassishaw and a remaining object from the Old Museum (now the Livery Hall)
Victorian Guildhall
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Trials and tribulations

The stage for state trials and remonstrances to kings, Guildhall has played a key part in London's dramatic history. Peers, an archbishop and a queen were tried for treason during the Reformation and, as the Great Fire swept through London in September 1666, destroying seven-eighths of the medieval City, Guildhall stood a "fearfull spectacle... as if it had been a Pallace of gold or a great building of burnished brass".

With the twentieth century came the Blitz's devastating air-raids and, on the night of 29th December 1940, Great Hall's roof was razed again, collapsing amidst a mass of burning timber. The current roof — designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott and erected in 1953 — is its fourth.

Pomp and circumstance

Guildhall has revelled in the pageantry and spectacle of state and mayoral occasions since 1502 and remains the civic and ceremonial centre of the City. Over centuries, its grade I-listed walls have entertained heads of state and heroes, from the lavish hospitality bestowed on the Prince Regent, Czar of Russia and King of Prussia to mark the defeat of Napoleon in 1814, to rousing receptions for Team GB's 2012 Olympians and, most recently, Her Majesty The Queen's 90th birthday celebrations.

An enduring symbol of London's past and present, Guildhall remains an extraordinary setting for unforgettable experiences.

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