The Temple

The Inner and the Middle Temple are two institutions which were granted the freehold of the Temple lands, located in central London by the Embankment, in 1608. The land and buildings were granted "for the accommodation, entertainment and education of students and practitioners of the law", and this is still their function today. A number of events are being organised to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the grant, including an open weekend which I was fortunate enough to attend. Damage by the Fire of London in 1666, subsequent fires, and enemy action in two world wars has destroyed some of the original buildings, resulting in a fascinating mix of architecture, and visitors had a good opportunity to wander around and inside many of the buildings.

Middle Temple Hall and Plowden Buildings

Middle Temple Library and Temple Gardens

A view of Middle Temple Hall across Fountain Court

Inside Middle Temple Hall. The first recorded performance of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night took place here.

One might have hoped that for the open day they could have tidied up this plaque and moved the table leg.

The grey January weather did its best to recreate the gloomy atmosphere described so eloquently by Dickens.

Moving on to the Inner Temple, this is the Pump Court Cloisters.

A mock trial was under way in the Inner Temple Hall.

2 Hare Court dates from 1894.

The Temple Church, which dates from 1185, is maintained and supported by the two institutions.

Busy with visitors, Middle Temple Lane runs down towards the Thames.

The Royal Courts Of Justice

Also participating in the open days were the Royal Courts of Justice, just across the Strand from the Temple, where I just had time for a quick look round.

January 2008

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