Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V12, Page 691 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
Spread the word: it!
GUILDHALL, the hall of the corporation of the city of London, England. It faces a courtyard opening out of Gresham Street. The date of its original foundation is not known. An ancient crypt remains, but the hall has otherwise undergone much alteration. It was rebuilt in 1411, beautified by the munificence of successive officials, damaged in the Great Fire of 1666, and restored in 1789 by George Dance; while the hall was again restored, with a new roof, in 1870. This fine chamber, 152 ft. in length, is the scene of the state banquets and entertainments of the corporation, and of the municipal meetings " in common hall." The building also contains a council chamber and various court rooms, with a splendid library, open to the public, a museum and art gallery adjoining. The hall contains several monuments and two giant figures of wood, known as Gog and Magog. These were set up in 1708, but the he knew to be both hopeless and impolitic. At last, in March 1782, he insisted on resigning after the news of Cornwallis's surrender at Yorktown, and no man left office more blithely. He had been well rewarded for his assistance to the king: his children had good sinecures; his half-brother, Brownlow North (1741—1820), was bishop of Winchester; he himself was chancellor of the university of Oxford, lord-lieutenant of the county of Somerset, and had finally been made a knight of the Garter, an honour which has only been conferred on three other members of the House of Commons, Sir R. Walpole, Lord Castlereagh and Lord Palmerston. Lord North did not remain long out of office, but in April 1783 formed his famous coalition with his old subordinate, C. J. Fox (q.v.), and became secretary of state with him under the nominal premiership of the duke of Portland. He was probably urged to this coalition with his old opponent by a desire to show that he could act independently of the king, and was not a mere royal mouthpiece. The coalition ministry went out of office on Fox's India Bill in December 1783, and Lord North, who was losing his sight, then finally gave up political ambition. He played, when quite blind, a somewhat important part in the debates on the Regency Bill in 1789, and in the next year succeeded his father as earl of Guilford. He did not long survive his elevation, and died peacefully on the 5th of August 1792. It is impossible to consider Lord North a great statesman, but he was a most good-tempered and humorous member of the House of Commons. In a time of unexampled party feeling he won the esteem and almost the love of his most bitter opponents. Burke finely sums up his character in his Letter to a Noble Lord: " He was a man of admirable parts, of general knowledge, of a versatile understanding, fitted for every sort of business; of infinite wit and pleasantry, of a delightful temper, and with a mind most disinterested. But it would be only to degrade myself," he continues, " by a weak adulation, and not to honour the memory of a great man, to deny that he wanted something of the vigilance and spirit of command which the times required." By his wife Anne (d. 1797), daughter of George Speke of White Lackington, Somerset, Guilford had four sons, the eldest of whom, George Augustus (1757—1802), became 3rd earl on his father's death. This earl was a member of parliament from 1778 to 1792 and was a member of his father's ministry and also of the royal household; he left no sons when he died on the loth of April 1802 and was succeeded in the earldom by his brother Francis (1761—1817), who also left no sons. The youngest brother, Frederick (1766—1827), who now became 5th earl of Guilford, was remarkable for his great knowledge and love of Greece and of the Greek language. He had a good deal to do with the foundation of the Ionian university at Corfu, of which he was the first chancellor and to which he was very liberal. Guilford, who was governor of Ceylon from 1798 to 1805, died unmarried on the 14th of October 1827. His cousin, Francis (1772—1861), a son of Brownlow North, bishop of Winchester from 1781 to 1820, was the 6th earl, and the latter's descendant, Frederick George (b. 1876), became 8th earl in 1886. On the death of the 3rd earl of Guilford in 1802 the barony of North fell into abeyance between his three daughters, the survivor of whom, Susan (1797—1884), wife of John Sidney Doyle, who took the name of North, was declared by the House of Lords in 1841 to be Baroness North, and the title passed to her son, William Henry John North, the 11th baron (b. 1836) (See NORTH, BARONS). For the Lord Keeper Guilford see the Lives by the Hon. R. North, edited by A. Jessopp (1890) ; and E. Foss, The Judges of England, vol. vii. (1848–1864). For the prime minister, Lord North, see Correspondence of George III. with Lord North, edited by W. B. Donne (1867) ; Horace Walpole, Journal of the Reign of George III. (18J9), and Memoirs of the Reign of George III., edited by G. F. R. Barker (1894) ; Lord Brougham, Historical Sketches of Statesmen, vol. i. (1839); Earl Stanhope, History of England (1858); Sir T. E. May, Constitutional History of England (1863–1865); and W. E. H. Lecky, History of England in the 18th century (1878–189o).
End of Article: GUILDHALL

Additional information and Comments

There are no comments yet for this article.
» Add information or comments to this article.
Please link directly to this article:
Highlight the code below, right click and select "copy." Paste it into a website, email, or other HTML document.