Grocers' Hall - Guildhall Tavern

A Dictionary of London. Originally published by H Jenkins LTD, London, 1918.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.


In this section

Grocers' Hall

At the north end of Grocers' Hall Court, Poultry, with a passage west to Old Jewry. In Cheap Ward (P.O. Directory).

First mention : "Grocershall," 1465-6 (Ct. H.W. II. 554).

Other names : Tenement or inn (hospitium) of the Grocers in Old Jewry, 1429 (Cal. P.R. H. VI. 1429-36, p. 78).

Stow says the site in Coneyhope lane was purchased in 1411 by the Custos or Gardian of the Grocers of Lord Robert Fitzwaters and that then the foundation of the hall was laid (S. 265-6), 1427 (MS. entry, Heath, p. 4).

The Bank of England was kept there in Strype's time (Strype, ed. 1720, I. iii. 33).

The hall was burnt in the Fire and rebuilt.

The' present hall was erected 1798-1802. Architect, T. Leverton.

Altered and rebuilt 1827.

Roman pavement found under the south-eastern angle of the Hall at a depth of 17 feet 6 ins.

Grocers' Hall Court

North out of Poultry, at No. 35, to Grocers' Hall (P.O. Directory). In Cheap and Coleman Street Wards.

First mention : Horwood, 1799.

Former names : "Grocers Alley" (O. and M. 1677-Boyle, 1799). "Coneyhope Lane" (q.v.).

Grocers' Rents

In St. Catherine's Lane in East Smithfield (P.C. 1732-Boyle, 1799).

Not named in the maps.


In the parish of St. Pancras, near Bordhawe Lane. In Cheap Ward.

Earliest mention : "Gropecontelane," "Groppecountelane," 1279, (Ct. H.W. I. 42, H. MSS. Com. 9th Rep. p. 48).

Also mentioned : Tenements and shops in "Gropecountelane" in parishes of St. Pancras and St. Mary Colchirche, 1349 (Ct. H.W. I. 581).

The name seems to have been a not uncommon one in early times.

It occurs in deeds relating to the borough of Wells in 1343 (Ct. H.W. I. 467) and is said to exist there still as "Grape Lane." There was also "Grapecuntlane" or "Grapcountlane" in York. (Close Rolls, 3 Ed. III. and 46 Ed. III.).

Not further identified.

Groping Lane

On Tower Hill (Wheatley).

Mentioned 1642.

Not named in the maps.

Ground Rentes

Tenements so called in High Holborn 1564 (Lond. I. p.m. II 142, 96).

Not further identified.

Grub Street

See Milton Street.

Not properly Grub Street any further than the Post and Chain ; the other part in the Freedom or Liberty of the City is called Grape Street (W. Stow, 1722).


A tenement so called in Tourstret in All Hallows Berkyngecherche, 17 Rich. II (Hust. Roll, 122, No. 19).

Not further identified.


On the east side of King Street at No. 23 (P.O. Directory). In Bassishaw Ward and Cheap Ward, extending east to Basinghall Street.

Earliest mention : There may be a reference to the Guildhall in the "Terra Gialle," a MS. belonging to the D. and C. St. Paul's, c. 1130, in which mention is made of various lands in London.

Mentioned in ordinance passed after fire of 1212 for protection of buildings, "Gildhall," 1244 (Lib. de Ant. Leg. p. 10).

In grant of land 5 Ed. I., it appears that "the curtilage of the "Gihalle" was situate 25 3/4 ells west from the "vico regio," apparently Basinghall Street, as the land included in the grant is described as in the parish of St. Michael Bassishaw, which could hardly be the case if King Street were intended (Anc. Deeds A. 1857).

It is described 15 Ed. III. as the hall of the pleas of the City (Cal. P.R. Ed. III. 1340-3, p. 227).

Stow tells us that the Guildhall was rebuilt in the 15th century, the rebuilding being commenced by T. Knolles, Mayor in 1400, and in Letter Book I. there are several allusions to the new work there (S. 109, 273, 293).

Fabyan gives the date as 1411 (ed. 1811, p. 576).

Stow describes it previously to this rebuilding as a little old cottage in Aldermanburie Street, but there appears to be no authority for placing it so far west, and it is more probable that the original building occupied a portion at least of its present site and was approached from Aldermanbury by a passage only.

The Executors of Ric. Whittington contributed to the paving of the Hall and the glazing of the windows (S. 274).

The site of the "Guildehall" is described 4 Ed. VI., as in the parish of St. Michael Bassishaw, abutting east on Bassinghawstrete, west on "le Yeldehall chappell," south on Blackwell Hall, north upon "les grocers landes" (Pat. Roll, Ed. VI. Pt. 9).

The Mayors' feasts were kept in the Guildhall from 1501, formerly held in Merchant Taylors' Hall or Grocers' Hall (Strype, ed. 1720, I. iii. 42).

Burnt in the Fire 1666, except the stone walls of the Hall (ib. 52).

Repaired 1706. Re-erected 1789. Architect, G. Dance, the younger. Hall restored 1866-70.

Numerous courts are held there for the transaction of the business of the City by the Mayor, Aldermen and Commonalty, and some of the City Companies hold their meetings there.

The name occurs in early records as "Gialle," "Gihalle," "Guyhalle," "Gihale," "Guihalle," "Gyhale," "Gilda Aula," "Gildaula," "Gyhalda," etc, and it is said to be derived from A S "gild "=payment, and "gildan"=to pay. The Guildhall would be the appointed place where the burgesses would "yield" or pay their taxes, hence "Yeldehall," a not uncommon form of the name.

The crypt has recently been restored and excavated, and has fine shafts and vaulting. It is divided into an eastern and western portion, the eastern being the more elaborate.

There is an interesting account of these crypts in Tran. L. and M. Arch. Soc. N.S. II. (3), 277).

A Roman pavement was found here under the Sewers' Office in 1861.

Guildhall Alley

Out of Basinghall Street (Strype, ed. 1755-Boyle, 1799).

Not named in the maps

Guildhall Buildings

East out of Guildhall Yard to Basinghall Street (P.O. Directory). In Cheap and Bassishaw Wards.

First mention : O.S. 1875.

Guildhall Buildings

In King Street, adjoining Guildhall Yard (P.O. Directory).

Occupied by offices of the Corporation, etc.

Guildhall Chambers

On the east side of Basinghall Street at Nos 31 to 34 (P.O. Directory). In Bassishaw Ward.

First mention : O.S. 1875.

Guildhall Chapel

See Mary (St.) Magdalen of the Guildhall.

Guildhall Court, Basinghall Street

See Evans' Court.

Guildhall Library

On the northern side of the Guildhall, adjoining Basinghall Street, to No. 72 (P.O. Directory). In Bassishaw Ward.

Erected by the Executors of Richard Whittington.

Originally it adjoined the Chapel on the south side (S. 276). But the books were taken away by Edward, Duke of Somerset, temp. Ed. VI., and not restored, and the place used as a store house for clothes (277).

A new room was built 1614 (Strype, ed. 1720, I. iii. 41).

Present building erected 1870-2. Archt., Sir Horace Jones.

Art Gallery opened 1886.

Guildhall of the Cologne Merchants

See Steelyard.

Guildhall of the Teutons

See Steelyard.

Guildhall School of Music

In Tallis Street, Whitefriars.

Guildhall Tavern

At the south-east corner of Guildhall Yard, on the north side of Gresham Street, Nos. 81 and 83, and 22 King Street (P.O. Directory). In Cheap Ward.

First mention : O.S. 1875.