As the home of the City of London Corporation, Guildhall has been the centre of City government since the Middle Ages.
The word 'guildhall' is said to derive from the Anglo-Saxon 'gild' meaning payment, so it was probably a place where citizens would pay their taxes. The present Guildhall was built in 1411 and, having survived both the Great Fire of London and the Blitz, it is the only secular stone structure dating from before 1666 still standing in the City.
It is likely that at least one earlier guildhall existed on or near the current site. References to a London guildhall are made in a document dating back to 1128 and the current hall's west crypt is thought to be part of a late-13th century building.
Remains of a long-lost Roman amphitheatre discovered in 1987 underneath what is now Guildhall Yard indicate that the site of Guildhall was significant as far back as Roman times.
The Great Hall is the third largest civic hall in England, where royalty and state visitors have been entertained down the centuries. It has been the setting for famous state trials, including that of Lady Jane Grey in 1553. The imposing medieval hall has stained glass windows and several monuments to national heroes including Admiral Lord Nelson, the Duke of Wellington and Sir Winston Churchill.
The Old Library building housed the Guildhall library and the Guildhall Museum from 1873 until 1974, when the collections moved to the newly constructed west wing and the Museum of London. Both the Old Library and the adjacent Print Room are now used as reception rooms. Beneath Guildhall lie the largest medieval crypts in London.
Today Guildhall still plays an important role in the City. It provides a venue for state and civic banquets, meetings of the City of London's elected assembly, the Court of Common Council, and for the Honorary Freedom of the City ceremony.
When it is not being used for events Guildhall's Great Hall is open free of charge to the public. For opening times call 020 7606 3030.
Also, once a month on Court of Common Council days, tours of the Guildhall are led by qualified City of London Guides from 10.45am to 12pm.
To book the Great Hall, or other rooms, contact the Remembrancers Department
City of London
PO Box 270 Guildhall
London EC2P 2EJ
020 7332 1460/ 020 7332 1313
How to get to Guildhall
See more details on How to find us pages.