24 September 2015
The British legal system is steeped in tradition and so where better to spend an hour or two in our amazing Capital than in the Inns of Court. I took myself off with a small group of like minded folk to pound the hallowed cobble streets of one of the oldest legal systems in the world.
They say the sun shines on the righteous and fortunately for me after a day of torrential rain, the sun was beaming down on us and we set off from Holborn to Lincoln’s Inn Fields, passing the famous “Ede and Ravenscroft” wigmakers to the judiciary (picture above).
In London the legal world is centred around the four Inns of Court; Gray's Inn, Lincoln's Inn, Inner Temple and Middle Temple.
These Inns date back to the 14th century and were housed in large, walled compounds, where judges and barristers worked, studied and even partied. These days judges and barristers still work in these historic buildings. Even if you're not all that interested in the law, the Inns of Courts are a fascinating area to wander around.
It’s hard to believe this oasis of tranquility is in the Centre of London. With glorious architecture, I enjoyed a little bit of fun with my Fisheye outside the Library in the Innigo Jones designed Lincoln’s Inn Fields just to capture the sheer grandeur of the buildings.
Then it was onwards through the leafy square, which is the largest in London (even bigger than Trafalgar I’m told) towards Middle & Inner Temples.
Around noon we arrived at the spectacular Elizabethan banqueting house in the Middle Temple Great Hall for our pre-booked lunch. It was as if we had stepped into Hogwarts. We were half expecting Harry, Hermione and Ron to join us at our table. They didn't, of course, but there were a few Supreme Court Judges at the top table.
Lunch was buffet style and involved lots of pieces of paper being ticked to record what we’d chosen (another ancient tradition I think) but the food was good and subsidized (It’s a hard life being a poor High Court Judge!)
After lunch it was back to Chancery Lane and towards the Royal Courts of Justice. But not before we passed some of the rooms where the legal eagles took their post prandial snoozes – centuries-old oak paneled walls and shelves lined with musty volumes of bygone legal cases.
By this time I was quite tired and took a moment or two to rest my feet and snatch a quick “street” style shot of a lawyer hurrying to his next client before I decided to beat the rush hour and leave this secluded, capsule of London.
All images © Peter Parker