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"Legal London" day trip

Wednesday 19th February 2014

Over 50 members of our Group and their friends joined us on a tour of the most famous legal buildings in London, the Inner and Middle Temples, the Royal Courts of Justice, Old Bailey and Lincoln's Inn, which traced the history and traditions of the English legal system.

We travelled by coach to the Aldwych in London, where we were met by Victoria, an exceptionally knowledgeable Blue Badge guide, and began with morning coffee and biscuits at a traditional Fleet Street pub opposite the High Court which regularly appears on the television news!

We then visited the Inner and Middle Temples, that came into being in the Middle Ages as places to learn the law.  Just like the Oxbridge universities, the Inns of Court are composed of quadrangles with lodgings and workplaces known as chambers as well a library, chapel and hall for communal dining. We also entered Middle Temple Hall – a rather beautiful Elizabethan Hall with double hammer beam roof, magnificent oak screen and brilliantly coloured glass where Shakespeare performed and the barristers still dine - which was being set for lunch!

During a fascinating morning we traced the history, traditions and peculiar practices of English law, a legal system that has been exported all around the world. Finally we visited the Royal Courts of Justice, designed by the famous Victorian Revival architect G.E. Street, who also designed the Grade 1 listed All Saints Church in Maidenhead. Here we saw Legal London at work with barristers, in wigs and gowns, and their clients, holding last minute corridor conferences.

We then returned to Fleet Street for a traditional pub carvery lunch. In the afternoon there was a short coach tour to see the Old Bailey from the distance (a criminal case was being heard and it was not possible to pass by). Then we set down and entered Lincoln’s Inn through the great Tudor gatehouse and walked round the Inns. We then returned to the Fleet Street on foot, past a famous store selling barrister and judges wigs, in time to buy afternoon tea before boarding the coach to head home.

 

Michaela Howard, Webmaster

March 2014.

 


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