Guildhall, York, England


York, Guildhall.
c.1910
Publisher: Francis Frith & Co, Reigate

York Guildhall is situated on the north bank of the River Ouse, behind the Mansion House. The hall was built in 1445 for the Guild of St Christopher and St George and the Corporation and was used as a meeting place for the guilds of York. The city’s guilds largely controlled the trade within York, oversaw the quality of the workmanship within the city and looked after their members’ interests. Due to damage caused by German bombs during a Baedeker air raid in 1942 which partially destroyed the building, the present Guildhall is a rebuilt version of the original fifteenth century structure and was opened by Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother in 1960.
Yorkshire Guide

The Guildhall has been around for a large part of York’s history. The current hall dates from the 15th century but it is built on the site of an earlier “common hall” which was referred to in a charter in 1256. The hall was built in 1445 for the ‘Guild of St Christopher and St George’ and the Corporation, the cost being divided equally between them. The accounts still exist and include a record of 3 pence given to the workmen to celebrate the laying of the foundations. A council meeting is recorded there in May of 1459. The whole site was taken over by the city corporation in 1549. Council meetings are still held on the site, now in the rather grand Victorian Council Chamber that was completed in 1891. When meetings weren’t taking place, the hall was put to all sorts of uses. It was sometimes a Court of Justice, including for the infamous trial of Margaret Clitherow for practising Catholicism in 1586. She was put to death for refusing to accept the jurisdiction of the Court.
History of York

Guidhall (Palazzo dell’Arte della Lana), Florence


FIRENZE – Palazzo dell’Arte della Lana
c.1910

The Arte della Lana was the wool guild of Florence during the Late Middle Ages and in the Renaissance. It was one of the seven Arati Maggiori (“greater trades”) of Florence, separate from the Arti Minori (the “lesser trades”) and the Arti Mediane (the “middle trades”). The Arte della Lana dealt in woollen cloth and cooperated with the other corporations of bankers and merchants in administering the commune, both under the podestà and the Republic of Florence.

At the height of the industry the Arte della Lana directly employed 30.000 workers and indirectly about a third of Florence’s population, and produced 100,000 lengths of cloth annually. The Arte della Lana saw all the processes from the raw baled wool through the final cloth, woven at numerous looms scattered in domiciles throughout the city. Like other guilds, the Arte served only to coordinate the activities of its own members, who did not generally own the means of production or directly manage the processes. Its syndics ensured that quality standards were met and contracts were honored. The predecessor and until the mid-14th century the rival of the Arte della Lana was the powerful Arte di Calimala, a corporation of importers of raw cloth, who dyed and finished it.

The guildhall, the Palazzo dell’Arte della Lana, was completed in 1308, with an attached fortifiable tower-house. From its interior, where some 14th-century frescoes remain, a gallery designed by Bernardo Buontalenti links the palazzo with the church of Orsanmichele. The palazzo is now the seat of the Società Dantesca.
Wikipedia.

Wikimedia Commons: interior photos