Guildhall is the home of the City of London Corporation and has been the centre of the City government since the Middle Ages. “Guild” is said to derive from an Anglo-Saxon word meaning payment, so “guildhall” was probably a place where citizens would pay their taxes.
Built in the site where the largest roman amphitheatre of Britannia used to stand (the outline of whose arena is marked with a black circle on Guildhall Yard) the current building was completed in 1440. Beneath it lie the largest medieval crypts in London thought to be from the 13th century, so it is likely that an earlier guildhall existed on the same place.
The stone building survived the Great Fire of London but it had to be partially restored with a new flat roof in 1670. In 1866, it was replaced by a more medieval-looking wooden roof that, in 1954 after the Second World War, had to be replaced again. The Great Hall has been the setting for famous state trials, including that of Lady Jane Grey in 1553, and has several monuments to national heroes like the Duke of Wellington, Admiral Lord Nelson or Sir Winston Churchill.
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