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Review : London’s Roman Amphitheatre at the Guildhall

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One of the most unusual and little known attractions in the City of London is the remains of a Roman amphitheatre beneath the Guildhall Art Gallery. Although the remains are quite limited, their discovery during the redevelopment of the Guildhall Art Gallery in the 1980’s offer some fascinating insights into Roman London.

For well over a century, archaeologists had searched for London’s Roman Amphitheatre and it was considered a surprise that it was built within the old Roman city walls when the majority of ancient amphitheatres were generally built outside the city walls.

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Compared with the large amphitheatres in the Rome and other parts of the Roman world, the history of the London amphitheatre suggests a more modest wooden structure built around AD70, although it was rebuilt in the early 2nd century it is doubtful the capacity was never more than 6,000 to 7,000 people. Throughout the history of the London amphitheatre it is likely that was used for ceremonial public events, religious activities, animal fights, public executions and gladiatorial combat.

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When the Romans left Britain in the fourth century, the amphitheatre was deserted and a ruin for hundreds of years before in the 11th century the area was reoccupied probably by a Viking settlement , by the 12th century the first Guildhall was built next to it.

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The discovery of the Roman amphitheatre provided evidence that this particularly small Guildhall site has been at the centre of London life for almost two thousand years. The attraction has a highly original digital projection and with the sounds of the crowds you can get a taste of what it might have like in a barbaric and bloody Roman Britain.

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As an antidote to the brutal sport of the Roman amphitheatre, visitors can walk upstairs and explore the fine collection of paintings in the Guildhall Art Gallery. Walking out of the Gallery into the courtyard if you look on the ground there is black inlaid stone in the paving which marks the outline of the arena below.

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London’s Roman Amphitheatre forms part of Guildhall Galleries which includes the City’s Art and Heritage Galleries, Guildhall Library, Guildhall Great Hall and St Lawrence Jewry all are located in the same area and are free to enter.

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If you would like to visit the ruins of London’s Roman Amphitheatre, walk into the Guildhall Art Gallery.and follow the signs. The admission is Free.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

Opening hours

Monday – Saturday, 10am – 5pm

Sunday, 12pm – 4pm

If you would like further information, visit the City of London website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here

 

A Short Guide to The Museum of London

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The Museum of London tells the social history of London from prehistoric to modern times, the museum is located on London Wall near to the Barbican complex.

The Museum of London is an amalgamation of two earlier museums: the Guildhall Museum, founded in 1826 and the London Museum founded in 1912.  Both collections came together after the second world war and the new Museum of London opened in 1976.

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The Guildhall Museum was largely archaeological, whilst the original London Museum had varied interests, collecting modern objects, paintings, and costumes. Since 1976 the Museum of London has operated as a social and urban history museum.

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The museum features a series of chronological galleries containing original artefacts, models, pictures and interactive displays which chart the rise of London and its urban development. A small section of the original Roman London Wall can be seen just outside the museum. The galleries “London Before London” , Roman London”, “Medieval London” and “War, Plague and Fire” concentrate on old London whilst “Expanding City ” , “People’s City” and “World City” are galleries of Modern London.

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The Museum of London opened a second public site in 2003 when the Museum of London Docklands housed in a Grade I listed warehouse at Canary Wharf was officially revealed.

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Although the Museum is still in its original building, the museum recently announced plans to move from its Barbican site to nearby Smithfield Market.

For more information, visit the Museum of London website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here