Guildhall Grandeur

Fifty members of Luton U3A London History Group 2 visited Guildhall in London last October, and it was a fascinating day of discovery, writes group organiser Hilary Stubbs.

Guildhall Great Hall dates from 1411, but the site has been central to London life since Roman times, and its rich history can be explored in the Art Gallery, the Heritage Gallery, the Roman Amphitheatre and the Guildhall Library, which holds special collections and exhibitions. Just opened is the City of London Police Museum, which you enter through Guildhall Library.

I recommend a visit to coincide with the Court of Common Council meeting (attended by the elected body of the City of London Corporation on the second Thursday of the month, nine times a year) as your group, as well as touring Guildhall, can watch the meeting and see the formal entrance of the Lord Mayor of London with his mace and sword bearers. The special Thursday tour can be booked through Christine Jarvis at csj25@alumni.ac.uk and lasts just over an hour – it’s one guide per 25 people – or you can book a City of London guide. The tours take in areas that you cannot normally visit including the medieval crypts.

We were able to book refreshments at the adjoining St Lawrence Jewry, the official church of the Lord Mayor of London, and a fascinating example of Sir Christopher Wren’s architecture. And, we could also sample food from around the world at the monthly Lunch Market in Guildhall Yard.