Windsor Guildhall

18 Apr

Just returned from a 3-day trip to Windsor, Eton & Legoland.

Must say there's nothing like a li'l bit of History to awaken your senses & give you perspective!


The picture above is of the Guildhall at Windsor. This probably is my favorite building in all of history. To know why, read on…

Strictly speaking, Windsor's famous Guildhall, should be known as the Town Hall, for it was never the meeting place of the town's guilds.

Commenced in 1687, it was designed by Sir Thomas Fitz, who died before the work was finished, and it was completed by Sir Christopher Wren and ready for occupation on 17th October 1689.

Born in 1632 in Wiltshire, Wren was an English scientist and architect of the 17th century, most famous for his role in the re-building of London's churches after the Great Fire of London of 1666. He is particularly known for his design for St Paul's Cathedral. As a boy he met the young Prince Charles who would later become King and employ Wren as an architect. In 1657, he became professor of astronomy at Gresham College and four years later he became the Savilian Professor of astronomy at Oxford until his resignation in 1673. Wren was also one of the founding members of the Royal Society, of which he was President from 1680 to 1682. Knighted in 1673, Wren served as a member of Parliament in 1685-1688 and 1702-1705. Wren died in 1723 and was buried at St Paul's. An inscription inside the cathedral, dedicated to the architect, reads, "Lector, si monumentum requiris, circumspice" ("Reader, if you seek a memorial, look around you").

Legend has it that after the Great Fire of London, Wren proposed razing down all the buildings still standing, and re-designing London from scratch, with wide roads running north-south & east-west. This idea however, like most of his other ideas, was too far ahead of his time.

Coming back to Windsor Guildhall, Wren's design of the building allowed for a corn market beneath the meeting chamber above. In the large council chamber are a number of excellent paintings of Royal and other persons, including portraits of King George V and Queen Mary, presented by Their Majesties to the Corporation.

As originally designed, the Corn Market did not have any pillars or supports in the middle. The council were concerned that the unsupported floor of the chamber may collapse, and so they forced Sir Christopher Wren to put in four pillars. (Ahhh, bureaucracy!)

Wren had no option but to obey. However, to prove a point, he left the additional columns 1.5 inches short of the ceiling!

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Posted by on April 18, 2006 in Life


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