Guildhall, Lichfield

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The Guildhall built in 1848

The Guildhall is a historic building in the centre of Lichfield, Staffordshire in the United Kingdom. Located in Bore Street the Guildhall has been central to the government of the City for over 600 years, and in former times was not only the meeting place of the Corporation but also at various times the court, prison, police station, theatre and fire station. The Guildhall takes its name from the ancient Guild of St Mary and St John the Baptist, whose hall stood from very early times on this site. It is not known when the first Guildhall was erected but it is believed to have been around 1387, when Richard II confirmed the incorporation of the Guild which even then had been in existence for many years. The Guildhall is a Grade II Listed Building.

The old prison for felons and debtors is at the rear of the building and has been in existence since 1553. From here have issued various convicts condemned to be publicly hanged at the gallows. Major rebuilding took place in 1707 and 1741 when the building was described as being so ruinous that it was in danger of falling down. Most of the present ground floor, and the smaller rooms at first and second floor level at the rear of the building date from this period. A century later the building was once more in a very poor state of repair and, in 1844 the Conduit Lands Trust agreed to provide £2,500 and constructed the building which stands today. The hall and frontage was rebuilt in 1846-48 by Joseph Potter Jnr.[1] It is these works which created the gothic-style frontage to Bore Street and the magnificent panelled main hall on the first floor. This room is 87 ft long by 25 ft wide and, with its high pitched roof and hammer beams, has a fine medieval appearance. At the north end there is a large stone tracery stained-glass window. This was originally in the north transept of the Cathedral and was transferred to the Guildhall in 1891.

Major refurbishment and repair works have recently been completed to restore this building as befits its historic significance, and to provide improved facilities for its use by the public. The main hall and various smaller rooms are widely hired out for public meetings, dances and as function rooms, and there is a lively programme of arts events and concerts run by the Lichfield District Arts Association. Civil marriages can take place at the Guildhall. The Guildhall is used for Council meetings and civic events including the ancient Court of Arraye and St George's Court.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Images of England:Guildhall, retrieved 23 February 2011 

Coordinates: 52°40′59″N 1°49′38″W / 52.683080°N 1.827182°W / 52.683080; -1.827182