Know Britain the Guildhall  Stratford-upon-Avon England






The Guildhall in Stratford was the administrative centre of the town. As explained in the historical introduction to Stratford two settlements developed side by side, the old town and the new. The new town grew quickly and became the centre of economic development. The development of the new town corresponded to the growth of importance of the Guilds and particularly of the Gild of the Holy Cross.

It was this Gild that financed the construction of the Guildhall during the years 1416-18 and this building became the administrative centre until mid-nineteenth century, well after the Gild of the Holy Cross was dissolved in 1547. The original building was most probably slightly larger but part of it had to be relinquished when the Guild Chapel was rebuilt. This can be presumed from the absence of braces at the south end of the Church Street front of the building.

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The Guildhall
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Originally there were two halls on the ground floor and upper floor. The upper floor later became part of the grammar school.

The cultural and administrative importance of the building temporarily came to an end in the 19th century. The timber-framed facade was plastered over towards the beginning of the century and the decline of the building continued when the lower floor was converted into the fire station, which necessitated the creation of large openings for the horse-drawn vehicles. This conversion almost led to the destruction of the building itself.

In the last decade of the century the building was restored to its former state. The ground floor is now the school library and the upper floor is used for teaching.

It is now one of the oldest school buildings in England.


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latest update: 6/12/04