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Based on the 15th century original, this reconstruction is still serving the city

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Council Chamber
Inner Hall
Secret Staircases
Stained Glass Windows
In the past, groups of England's craftsmen joined together to regulate business within their particular trade. These groups were known as guilds, and they became exceedingly powerful. York was no different - by the 15th century, they were in charge of almost all trade within the entire city. They also laid down strict rules for the quality of craftsmanship, ensuring that if someone wanted to set up a business, they had to have the approval of the guilds.

Doorway to York Guildhall
Of course, such influential tradesmen needed a building of their own, where they could assemble to discuss the pressing issues of the day. And so, sometime in the 1400s York's Guildhall was constructed. It quickly became an important place within the city - in fact King Richard III himself was treated to a banquet here in 1483. In the following years, its function began to change. By the 16th century, the building was used by the local government. Margaret Clitherow, a famous figure from York's past, was tried here, and convicted of harbouring Catholic priests. She was sentenced to death by crushing.
Unfortunately, the original building was almost completely destroyed by air raids in the Second World War. Thankfully, though, most of the stone walls were still standing, so they were used as the basis for the impressive reconstruction which stands in York today. The building is full of interesting details, such as the pillars made from entire oak tree trunks, and the intricately detailed stained glass windows, which depict the history of the city. The Inner Hall contains panelled walls, and a ceiling decorated with small, grotesque carvings. Curiously, there are also two secret staircases - which suggests that some suspicious activities took place in the past!
The reconstructed Guildhall was opened in 1960 by the Queen Mother, and is still used by York's Council. Even after all these centuries, the building is still serving its city.
Visitor Information
York Guildhall is open Mon to Fri, 9am - 5pm, Sat 10am - 5pm and Sun 2pm - 5pm. Entrance is FREE. Tel: 01904 613161

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