The Guildhall is a biggin in the Ceety o Lunnon, aff Gresham an Basinghall streets, in the wards o Bassishaw an Cheap. It haes been uised as a toun haw for several hunder years, an is still the ceremonial an admeenistrative centre o the Ceety o Lunnon an its Corporation. The term Guildhall refers baith tae the whole biggin an tae its main room, which is a medieval-style great haw. The Guildhall complex hooses the offices o the City of London Corporation an various public facilities.
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Roman, Saxon an Medieval
The great haw is believit tae be on a steid o an earlier Guildhall (ane possible derivation for the wird 'guildhall' is the Anglo-Saxon 'gild', meanin payment, wi a "gild-hall" being whaur citizens wad pay their taxes). Durin the Roman period, it wis the steid o an amphitheatre, the lairgest in Breetannie, pairtial remains o which are on public display in the basement o the Guildhall Art Gallery an the ootline o whose arena is markit wi a black circle on the pavin o the courtyard in front o the haw. Indeed, the sitin o the Saxon Guildhall here wis probably due tae the amphitheatre's remains Excavations bi MOLAS in 2000 at the entrance tae Guildhall Yard exposed remains o the great 13t-century gatehoose built directly ower the soothren entrance tae the Roman amphitheatre, which raises the possibility that enough o the Roman structur survivit tae influence the sitin no anerlie o the gatehoose an Guildhall itsel but an aw o the kirk o St Lawrence Jewry whose strange alignment mey shadae the elliptical form o the amphitheatre beneath. The first documentary reference tae a Lunnon Guildhall is datit 1128 an the current haw's wast crypt mey be pairt o a late-13t century biggin. Legendary Breetish history made the Guildhall's steid the steid o the palace o Brutus o Troy.
Pairts o the current biggin date frae 1411, an it is the anerlie stane biggin no belangin tae the Church tae hae survivit the Great Fire o Lunnon in 1666. The complex contains several ither historic interiors besides the hall, includin the lairge mediaeval crypts, the auld library, an the print room, aw o which are nou uised as function rooms.
Trials in this haw hae includit those o Anne Askew (Protestant martyr), Henry Howard, Earl o Surrey, Sir Nicholas Throckmorton, Lady Jane Grey, Guildford Dudley, Thomas Cranmer, Henry Peckham, John Daniel, John Felton (Catholic), Roderigo Lopez, Henry Garnet (in connection wi the Gunpowder Plot), Sir Gervase Helwys (in connection wi the Overbury plot) an it contains memorials tae Andrew Pitt the Elder, Andrew Pitt the Younger, Admiral Laird Nelson, the Duke o Wellington, William Beckford, an Winston Churchill. It an aw played a pairt in Jack Cade's 1450 rebellion.
The Great Hall did no completely escape damage in 1666; it wis paritially restored - wi a flat roof - in 1670. The present grand entrance (the east wing o the sooth front), in "Hindoostani Gothic", wis addit in 1788 bi George Dance (an restored in 1910). A mair extensive restoration than that in 1670 wis completit in 1866 bi Ceety o Lunnon airchitect Sir Horace Jones, who addit a new timber roof in close keepin wi the oreeginal. This replacement wis destroyed durin The Seicont Great Fire o Lunnon on the nicht o 29/30 December 1940, the result o a Luftwaffe fire-raid. It wis replacit in 1954 durin wirks designed bi Sir Giles Gilbert Scott.
The day-to-day admeenistration o the City of London Corporation is nou conductit frae modren biggins immediately tae the north o the Guildhall, but the Guildhall itsel an the adjacent historic interiors are still uised for offeecial functions, an it is open tae the public durin the annual London Open House weekend. The Guildhall Art Gallery wis addit tae the complex in the 1990s. The Clockmakers' Museum an the Guildhall Library, a public reference library wi specialist collections on Lunnon, which include material frae the 11t century onwards, are an aw hoosed in the complex.
Gog an Magog
Twa giants, Gog an Magog, are associatit wi the Guildhall. Legend haes it that the twa giants wur defeatit bi Brutus an chained tae the gates o his palace on the steid o Guildhall. Carvins o Gog an Magog are kept in the Guildhall an taken oot an paradit in the annual Lord Mayor's Show.
An early version o Gog an Magog wur destroyed in the Guildhall durin the Great Fire o Lunnon. They wur replacit in 1708 bi a lairge pair o wooden statues carvit bi Captain Richard Saunders. These giants, on whom the current versions are based, lastit for ower twa hunder years afore they wur destroyed in the Lunnon Blitz. They, in turn, wur replacit bi a new pair carvit bi David Evans in 1953 an given tae the Ceety o Lunnon bi Alderman Sir George Wilkinson, who haed been Laird Mayor in 1940 at the time o the destruction o the previous versions.
The Guildhall hosts mony events throughoot the year, the maist notable ane being the Laird Mayor’s Banquet, which is held in honour o the immediate-past Laird Mayor an is the first tae be hostit bi the new Laird Mayor o the Ceety o Lunnon. In keepin wi tradition, it is at this Banquet that the Prime Minister makes a major World Affairs speech. Ane o the last acts o the ootgoin Laird Mayor is tae present prizes at the Ceety o Lunnon Schuil prize day at the Guildhall. Ither events include those o various law firms, awaird fore-nichts for the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET), an the famous banquet for the International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC). The Worshipful Company of Carmen haulds its Cart-Marking ceremony in the courtyard each Julie. See www.thecarmen.co.uk