The Temple is a quiet and secluded corner of London, an oasis of pleasant gardens and attractive Georgian buildings. Dickens caught its atmosphere in "Barnaby Rudge": "There are, still, worse places than the Temple, on a sultry day, for basking in the sun, or resting idly in the shade. There is yet a drowsiness in its courts, and a dreamy dullness in its trees and gardens; and those who pace its lanes and squares may yet hear the echoes of their footsteps on the sounding stones, and read upon its gates in passing from the tumult of the Strand or Fleet Street, `Who enters here leaves noise behind.' There is still the plash of falling water in fair Fountain Court ..."In the 12th and 13th centuries the Temple was the headquarters in England of the order of Knights Templars, founded in Jerusalem in 1119.
Address: King's Bench Walk, London EC4, England
Opening hours: 10am-4pm; Sun: 12:45pm-4pm
Disability Access: Partial facilities for persons with disabilities.
Transit: Underground: Temple.
The Temple is entered from Fleet Street through a handsome Wren gateway. To the west of Middle Temple Lane is the Middle Temple, the members of which have included such notable figures as Sir Walter Raleigh, John Pym, Henry Fielding, Thomas Moore, Thomas de Quincey. W. M. Thackeray and R. B. Sheridan. The Middle Temple Hall was built during the reign of Elizabeth I, in 1576, as a dining and assembly hall. After suffering severe bomb damage during the Second World War it was restored in the original style, and still preserves much of the original paneling, a carved screen of Elizabethan style, a magnificent double hammerbeam roof, armorial glass and a serving table made from the timbers of Drake's "Golden Hind". The large windows bear the coat of arms of those members of the Temple who once belonged to the House of Lords, and an equestrian picture of Charles I. Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night" was performed here on second February 1601. Judges and barristers still lunch in the hall, and here, too, the students dine during term.Fountain Court, to the north, leads into Garden Court, from which there is a gate opening on to the Embankment. On the east side of Middle Temple Lane is the entrance to Pump Court (1680), which gives access to the Inner Temple.
Inner Temple & Gardens
Inner Temple Hall, the dining and assembly hall of the Inner Temple, was destroyed by bombing in 1941 and rebuilt in 1952-55. It has a heated marble floor and stained-glass windows with the arms of former members of the inn. At the west end are a vaulted room and crypt dating from the 14th century.The Inner Temple Gardens, reaching down to the Thames, are not open to the public. In these gardens are still grown the white and red roses which according to tradition were plucked here at the beginning of the Wars of the Roses and became the emblems of the houses of York and Lancaster.
Opening hours: 10am-12pm, 3pm-4:30pm; Closed: Sun, Sat
Useful tips: Open on Saturday by appointment only.
Transit: Underground: Temple.
To the north of Inner Temple Hall is the Temple Church, which serves both inns. The original Norman church (1185), the "Round", circular in plan like the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, had an oblong chancel in Early English style added in 1240. The church was renovated by Wren in 1682, and was carefully restored after suffering damage in the Second World War. The chancel is supported by clustered marble columns. The church contains fine recumbent marble figures of Templar knights, dating from the 12th and 13th centuries, one of which is thought to be William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke (d. 1219), brother-in-law of King John and Regent for Henry II. Oliver Goldsmith (1728-74) is buried in the churchyard. The Temple Church has its own incumbent. It is used for the marriages of members of benchers' families, and memorial services are held here for deceased benchers.
The massive building officially known as the Central Criminal Court (built 1902-07), the principal criminal court for Greater London, is more commonly referred to as the Old Bailey, after the name of the street in which it stands. On top of the dome is a figure of Justice, with her sword and scales, but not blindfolded. The building was restored after suffering severe damage during the last war. Until 1903 the site of the Old Bailey was occupied by Newgate Prison, for a long time London's chief prison. From 1783 to 1868 public executions were carried out in front of the prison. Entrance to the new courts is from the Old Bailey building; courts in the old building are entered from Newgate Street.
Address: Newgate Street, London EC4, England
Opening hours: 10am-1pm, 2pm-4pm; Closed: Sun, Sat
Always closed on: New Year's Day (Jan 1), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25), Easter - Christian
Entrance fee: FREE
Useful tips: Opening times: Sittings of the courts are open to the public and can be observed from the public gallery. Food and drink, large bags, cameras, electrical equipment (radios, tape recorders, walkmans, etc.), portable telephones or personal alarms are not permitted, and there are no cloakrooms to leave such items.
Transit: Underground: St Paul's; Bus: 4, 8, 11, 15, 17, 22B, 23, 25, 26, 56, 76, 172, 501, 521.
National Postal Museum (closed)
The National Postal Museum, opened in 1966 and extended in 1969, has a collection of some 350,000 stamps from all over the world, together with artists' drawings, philatelic books and documents on the history of the postal service. The main elements in the museum are the Reginald M. Phillips collection of 19th century British stamps, which covers the development, planning and issue of the world's first postage stamp - a British invention - and the Post Office's collection of British and foreign stamps. The museum is housed in the King Edward Building, the west wing of the General Post Office, which has a vast hall of counters.The postal museum is of interest to the general tourist because it gives the history of the British mails from Elizabethan times to modern computerization. Of note are the history of the mails during World War II and the private subway system which ran letters between post offices in London.ATTRACTION IS CLOSED.Items from the NPM, as well as the Royal Mail Archive were transferred to a new independent charitable trust, and The British Postal Museum & Archive
Museum of London
The Museum of London, housed in a magnificently designed new building in the Barbican area of the City, was opened in 1976, bringing together the collections of the old London Museum, previously housed in Kensington Palace, and the Guildhall Museum.The museum covers the whole range of London's 2,000-year history, with displays of Roman remains, including pottery and bronzes, Anglo-Saxon material, furniture, clothing, documents and musical instruments of the Tudor and Stuart periods, a cell from the old Newgate prison, reconstructions of Victorian and Edwardian shops and offices. There is an audio-visual presentation of the Great Fire of 1666, and exhibits illustrating the history of local authority services, schools and places of entertainment.
Address: 150 London Wall, London EC2Y 5HN, England
Opening hours: 10am-6pm
Always closed on: Christmas - Christian (Dec 25), Day after Christmas, St Stephen's Day, Boxing Day (Dec 26), Christmas Eve - Christian (Dec 24), Good Friday - Christian
Entrance fee: FREE
Useful tips: Lower galleries closed until 2010. Last admission 5:30 p.m. Open until 9pm on the first Thursday of each month. School parties must reserve in advance.
Disability Access: Full facilities for persons with disabilities.
Facilities: Gift shop, Restaurant or food service
Transit: Underground: St Paul's, Barbican, Moorgate, Bank; Bus: 4, 6, 8, 9, 11, 15, 22, 25, 141, 279A, 501, 513, 502.
Lord Mayor's Show
The most sumptuous exhibit at the Museum of London is the Lord Mayor's golden state coach, which leaves the museum once a year to drive through the streets of the City in the procession of the Lord Mayor's Show. The Lord Mayor drives in the coach from Guildhall to the Law Courts where he is received by the Lord Chief Justice, the senior legal officer of the Crown.
Barristers & Solicitors
Barristers (who are entitled to plead in the higher courts of England but have no direct contact with their clients - in contrast to the other branch of the legal profession, the solicitors, who deal directly with the clients and "instruct" the barristers but are not themselves allowed to plead in the higher courts) must be trained in one of the four Inns of Court, which are in effect law schools with the exclusive right to admit candidates to practice as barristers. The two inns within the Temple are known as the Middle Temple and Inner Temple; the other two are Lincoln's Inn and Gray's Inn. The Inns of Court were first established in the reign of Edward I, when the clergy had ceased to practice in the law courts and had been succeeded by professional lawyers.Each of the inns has a large complex of buildings, comprising legal chambers (offices) which are let to barristers and solicitors and extensive gardens as well as the actual teaching facilities (libraries, lecture rooms, dining halls, etc.), laid out around a number of courts. In order to become a barrister a student must pass the examinations of one of the halls and must also fulfillll the traditional requirement of dining in hall at least three times a term for 12 terms in all. Each inn is governed by a committee of "benchers". All judges of the High Court automatically became benchers; other benchers are elected from among senior barristers (Q.C.s). The benchers of each inn are presided over by a treasurer, who is elected anually. Once every term the treasurer admits successful candidates to the bar on a ceremonial occasion known as Call Night.