Former town hall and court room, the Guildhall is still used for ceremonial occasions and celebrations. With its turreted bell tower, distinctive clock and frontage it is a truly unique landmark.
Pevsner describes it as “superb, the epitome Restoration panache” and the effect is more like the “carved poop of a 17th c. ship than anything else”. The Guildhall as we see it from the outside was competed in 1683 when the clock was added. The clock was allegedly given to the town by John Aylward, a London clockmaker who wanted to set up business in the town. Pevsner describes the clock as “pure City of London style, similar to the clock at St Mary at Hill” but much grander.
Behind the windows lies the seventeenth century paneled former Council chamber with fine paintings used until 1935. At the rear is the sixteenth century hall and former court room. Amongst it last cases was remanding the Guildford Four in custody. They were wrongly convicted in 1975 for the IRA bombing of two Guildford pubs. Today the Guildhall is used on ceremonial occasions and turning on the Christmas lights. The magistrates court and council offices are now in different parts of town.