The Guildhall, York
York Guildhall is situated on the north bank of the River Ouse, behind the Mansion House. The hall was built in 1445 for the Guild of St Christopher and St George and the Corporation and was used as a meeting place for the guilds of York. The city's guilds largely controlled the trade within York, oversaw the quality of the workmanship within the city and looked after their members' interests.
Due to damage caused by German bombs during a Baedeker air raid in 1942 which partially destroyed the building, the present Guildhall is a rebuilt version of the original fifteenth century structure and was opened by Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother in 1960. The stone walls of the building escaped total destruction and now form the frame of the reconstructed hall. A single tree trunk was used for each oak pillar, the originals coming from the royal Forest of Galtres. The Inner Room survived the raid intact and has panelled walls, masons' marks, two hidden stairways and a ceiling decorated with bosses.
The grand Victorian Council Chamber that was completed in 1891. The history of the City of York is portrayed in the stained glass window, the five lights in the tracery depict the different periods of York's history. Grotesque faces can be seen on the ceiling in the Inner Room.
The Guildhall has served many purposes through its long history. The Guildhall was the venue for the trial of St. Margaret Clitherow, for harboring Catholic priests in 1586 she was sentenced to death by crushing. King Richard III was entertained to a lavish banquet there during his visit to York in 1483 and Prince Albert, the Prince Consort to Queen Victoria was a guest of honour at a Royal banquet. The Guildhall was also the place where in 1647, £200,000 was counted before the Parliamentarians gave it to the Scots in payment for the ransom of King Charles I during the Civil War.