This very beautiful neo-gothic red sandstone building, renovations of which precluded my entry in 2013, is the City Hall and seat of the Derry City Council. It is very much worth a look.

While I, for reasons explained on my main Derry page, refer to the city as Derry the official name of the city is Londonderry. In 1984 the city Council changed the name of the Council from Londonderry to Derry City Council. A change in the name of the City would have required a petition to Queen Elizabeth II. Fearing rejection, no such application was, nor has, been made and so it remains that the Derry City Council administer the City of Londonderry.

At the time, the official comment of the majority SDLP (Social Democratic and Labour Party) party on the city council was that it was not seeking to change the name of the city as it had no intention of “petitioning an English queen to change the name of our Irish city”

The Guildhall was built in 1890 by The Honourable, the Irish Society (see my separate tip – Roaring Meg and other Cannons – for some detail on this Society). The building was named in honour of its connection to the City of London and its guilds.

It has twice been badly damaged, firstly in a fire in 1908 and secondly by a terrorist bomb in 1972 the latter of which severely damaged the building internally.

The building contains 23 gorgeous stain glass windows many gifted by London livery companies and depicting the story of Derry from the building of the City Walls in 1618 up to the 20th century. The clock is in the design of that on the Palace of Westminster often referred to, inaccurately, as Big Ben. The weather vane on the top of the building represents the Mountjoy which, as I have indicated in my review of the Browning Memorial Tablet, affixed to the Wall behind you as your face the Guildhall, was a ship in the flotilla, captained by Michael Browning, a locally born man, which broke the boom on the River Foyle on 28 July 1689 and thus relieved the city from its 105 day siege.

Of significant historical interest and perhaps embarrassment to nationalists office holders is the fact that the Lord Mayor’s Chain of Office has 13 links, representing the 13 Apprentice Boys of Siege of Derry fame and that the Mayor’s Medallion, worn on ceremonial occasions, was presented to the City by King William III in 1692.

Shortly after my visit the Guildhall reopened to visitors with opening times of::

Mon to Fri: 10am – 5.30pm
Sat: 10am – 5.30pm
Sun: 10am – 5.30pm

This entry is one of a group (loop) of entries based on many trips to Londonderry/Derry. I suggest you continue with my next entry – Browning Memorial – Relief of Derry Commemorations – or to start the loop at the beginning go to my introductory entry – The City on the Foyle.

One thought on “The Guildhall

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