The Guildhall is a beautiful historic building, traditionally the seat of civic governance in Beverley, and now runs as a community museum for the town. Parts of the building date back to the 14th century, with medieval timber walls surviving from the wealthy merchant’s house that originally stood on the site.
Since acquiring the building in 1501 the Governors of Beverley (who later became the town council) made many alterations to the building. In 1762 they added a new courtroom, with an exquisite stucco ceiling by Giuseppe Cortese. The front section of the building was remodelled in the early 1830s, with a Doric portico by Charles Mountain the Younger.
Visitors to the Guildhall are invited to enjoy a building that stands testimony to 600 years of Beverley history. Among the oldest items on show are medieval silver minstrels’ chains from the 15th century and the unique wooden mayoral bench, known as a ‘bink’ in old Beverlonian.
Graffiti on the medieval walls is possibly a legacy of the 18th century boys’ school housed in the building, and the furniture specially commissioned in the 18th century for the newly-built courtroom is still in use today.
Civic pride is displayed in the large collection of silverware and pewter, used for centuries by mayors entertaining visiting dignitaries. An evocative collection of paintings by Fred Elwell, a nationally-renowned artist from Beverley, depicts local people and scenes in the first half of the 20th century.
The Guildhall also houses the Beverley Community Museum. In two rooms volunteers are helping to collect and display images from Beverley’s past. Regular temporary exhibitions explore local history themes, and all past exhibitions are kept as an archive for visitors to see. A public-access computer archive of historic photos of Beverley is also on display.
The Guildhall is located in Register Square, next to the main post office, and is open every Friday from 10am to 4pm with free admission. The building is also open from 10am to 4pm on Wednesdays from July 22nd to September 2nd inclusive.
Further information is available from the Curator on 01482 392783, or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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