Leicester Guildhall
The Guildhall in Leicester is a Grade I listed timber framed building, with the earliest part dating from c1390. The Guildhall once acted as the town hall for the city until the current one was commissioned in 1876. Although some parts are earlier, the majority of the building dates from the 15th century. It's located in the old walled city, on a street now known as Guildhall Lane. It was used first as the meeting place for the Guild of Corpus Christi and then later for the more formal Corporation of Leicester. The hall was used for many purposes, including council meetings, feasts, as a courtroom, and the ultimatum given to the city during English civil war was discussed and for theatrical performances.

The Great Hall was built around 1390 as the meeting place of the Guild of Corpus Christi; the guild was a group of businessmen and gentry who had religious connections. The Guildhall was used for banquets, festivals, and as a home for a priest who prayed for the souls of Guild members in the nearby St Martin's Church. The Corporation of Leicester bought the Guildhall by the end of the 14th century. During the English civil war the Mayor and corporation received a demand from Prince Rupert a demand for £2000. The decision was made at the Guildhall to offer a loan of £500 and made an appeal to King Charles I. In May 1645 the King in attempt to divert attention away from Oxford positioned an army of 6,000 men outside the city walls on 29 May 1645. Again important decisions regarding the fate of the city were to be decided in the Guildhall. On the 30th May 1645 the Royalist Army made demand after demand to the city, who played for time. In the end the Prince Rupert attacked at 3:00 pm. The City walls were breached, and the last stand made by the defenders outside the Guildhall and St Martins. The Royalists then entered the Guildhall looting the towns archives, and mace and seal. The Royalist victory was over turned a couple of weeks latter with the defeat at Naseby. Records also show that entertainment expenses were paid for such items as wine, beer for Oliver Cromwell. Although this does not prove Oliver Cromwell stayed at the Guildhall, it is highly probable that he visited several times. The coat of arms of King Charles I can be seen today inside the Mayor's Parlour. It is reputed that William Shakespeare appeared here. In recognition of this, the television company, Maya Vision, brought the Royal Shakespeare Company to perform at the Guildhall as part of its 2003 series for the BBC, 'In Search of Shakespeare,' written and narrated by the historian, Michael Wood. Part of the Shakespeare legend is that Shakespeare first came across the tale of King Leir whilst appearing at the Guildhall and this inspired him to write his own play King Lear. There is, however, no actual evidence to support this, although the legend of King Leir is associated with Leicester. The Guildhall was retained in use until quite late. It was not until 1876 that the Corporation moved to the new Leicester Town Hall. It was later used as a police station and school, before becoming a museum. It is currently also used as a venue for musical performances. The Guildhall is a Grade I Listed Building, and the surrounding area, also including the Cathedral of St Martin's, is a conservation area, one of three in Leicester.

Present day
The Guildhall is used as a performance venue as well as a museum.

With five reported ghosts, the Guildhall is reputedly Leicester's most haunted building. Because of its reported hauntings, it has appeared on various TV programmes, including being investigated on the television show Most Haunted . Members of the public can also investigate the ghostly goings on at the Guildhall as it has become a popular place for several paranormal companies who hold overnight events there. A video clip taken from the CCTV is believed by some to contain footage of a ghost, sceptics contend it is sunlight.

Building Activity

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