|Guildhall Piazza and Guildhall Yard||City of London|
The Guildhall was established in the C12th, although the building today is C15th. Earlier buildings included a chapel and a library, and a gatehouse once separated Guildhall Yard from the street by the C12th St Lawrence Jewry, whose former churchyard is now incorporated into the piazza. The Great Fire of 1666 destroyed the church, which was rebuilt by Christopher Wren, and necessitated some rebuilding of the Guildhall. Various other buildings were added over the years, including Civic Offices on the site of St Michael's church, demolished in 1900. From 1908 rebuilding the entire complex was planned but not carried out until post WWII, following bomb damage. Guildhall Piazza and Guildhall Yard are largely hard landscaped, the area to the south abutting the church having a pond and planting. The piazza to the north has a number of sculptural features.
The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/05/2010
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Guildhall Yard and St Lawrence Jewry Church, May 2010. Photo: S Williams
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Guildhall Piazza and Guildhall Yard are two areas of largely hard landscaping, the area to the south off Gresham Street abutting the church of St Lawrence Jewry, to the west of which is a garden with a pond, flower beds and planting, The Mayors' and City of London Court; and to the north a larger piazza onto Basinghall Street with a number of sculptural features: Glass Fountain, 1969 by Allen David, and 'Beyond Tomorrow', 1972 by Karin Jonzen, this latter presented to the Corporation by Mrs Gilbert Edgar, wife of Gilbert Edgar who was Sheriff from 1963-4. Beneath the site is a Roman amphitheatre. The Guildhall was established on this site in the C12th, although the Guildhall one sees today dates from the C15th; earlier buildings included a chapel built in the late C13th, a library by the late C15th. At that time a gatehouse separated the Guildhall Yard from the street by St Lawrence Jewry whose former churchyard is incorporated into the piazza.
St Lawrence Jewry was first recorded in 1136 and in the late C12th belonged to a convent near Amiens and later to Balliol College. The church's medieval tower was repaired in 1618 but later destroyed in 1666 with the church, which was rebuilt by Wren 1670-87. The parish of St Mary Magdalene Milk Street, destroyed but not rebuilt in 1666, was joined with that of St Lawrence.
The Great Fire of 1666 necessitated some rebuilding of the Guildhall and various other buildings were added over the years including the late C18th Common Council Chamber by George Dance the Younger, demolished 1908. The Civic Offices were built on the site of St Michael's church, demolished in 1900 and the Corporation acquired the church site in 1901. From 1908 rebuilding the entire complex was being planned and before World War II designs by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott were to be implemented but the area was badly bombed in 1940, and Scott restored the Hall and created new offices in 1955-8. In 1966-9 the raised forecourt was built over an underground car park, connecting to the elevated pedestrian walkways south of London Wall, and the Yard itself was extended and made a paved precinct with a new library and offices to north and west of 1969-75. The Guildhall Art Gallery was completed in 1997 to the east. In 1998 a C17th burial vault and lead coffins and the remains of an early medieval crypt were discovered. The church was dedicated to the City Corporation when the Guildhall Chapel, built c.1430, was demolished in 1822. It was bombed in World War II and restored in 1954-7.
Simon Bradley & Nikolaus Pevsner, 'The Buildings of England, London 1: The City of London', 1997 (1999 ed.)