Guildhall has been the City’s seat of municipal government since the twelfth century, when the Lord Mayor of London rivalled the monarch for prestige and influence, and remains the home of the City of London Corporation. A rare example of Medieval civic architecture, Guildhall’s centrepiece is the Great Hall, where the City of London and its progenitors have been holding grand ceremonial dinners for centuries. Memorials to national heroes line the walls, shields of the 100 livery companies grace the ceiling, and every Lord Mayor since 1189 gets a namecheck on the windows. Many famous trials have taken place here, including the treason trial of 16-year-old Lady Jane Grey, ‘the nine days’ queen’, in 1553. Above the entrance to the Guildhall are statues of Gog and Magog. Born of the union of demons and exiled Roman princesses, these two mythical giants are said to protect the City of London. The current statues replaced eighteenth-century forebears that were destroyed during the Blitz.
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