London: Old Bailey

Aug 19th, 2003, 12:35 PM
Posts: n/a
London: Old Bailey

Remember the movie: Witness for the Prosecution? It's free and I just love all those white wigs and black robes. Might be worth a few hours; especially for any legal beagles on the forum.

Basic info found below:

Central Criminal Court, universally known as the Old Bailey, is the most famous criminal court in the world. There is no public access to the precincts of the Central Criminal Court but the public galleries are open each day for viewing of trials in session.

Old Bailey has been London's principal criminal court for centuries. Now a crown court centre, it hears cases from the City of London and Greater London area, and those remitted to it from England and Wales.

The new courthouse designed by Edward Mountford was opened by King Edward VII in 1907. The design mirrors the nearby dome of St Paul's Cathedral.
The Edwardian baroque of Mountford's courthouse is combined in the present building with the modern simplicity of the extra courtrooms, added since the Second World War to accommodate the increasing workload resulting from a steady growth in crime. Famous trials held there include that of William Penn and William Mead for 'preaching to an unlawful assembly' in 1670. More recent trials include those of Oscar Wilde, Dr Crippen, William Joyce ('Lord Haw Haw'), the Krays and the Yorkshire Ripper.

Central Criminal Court
Old Bailey
Tel 020 7248 3277
Tube: St. Paul?s
Monday - Friday 10.00 to 13.00 and 14.00 to 17.00 (approx).

The court is closed on Bank Holiday Mondays and the day immediately after.
The Court will be closed from the 3rd August 2003 to the 8th September 2003 to allow upgrading of facilities and a major refurbishment to take place.

There is no admission for children under 14. No cameras, video equipment, mobile phones, bags, food or drink are allowed in the building. There are NO facilities for the safekeeping of such items available at the entrance to the public galleries.

Aug 19th, 2003, 01:44 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,291
I highly recommend a visit to Old Bailey to watch a trial in progress. I found it fascinating and definitely one of the highlights of my two trips to London.
HowardR is offline  
Aug 19th, 2003, 03:15 PM
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degas, be careful when you go to Old Bailey. They may have your name in the computer from some gross violation on a previous visit! The outfits you and your wife wear must be a crime in many European countries.
Aug 19th, 2003, 03:38 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,579
We weren't familiar with the ban on cameras a few years ago so I had to stay out while my wife went in. Fortunately there is a pub directly opposite the entrance so I was able to find solace there.
jsmith is offline  
Aug 20th, 2003, 03:57 AM
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HowardR, did it look like you were one of only a few tourists at the session?

dumas, I plan to give them your name when I check in.

jsmith, I'll be doing a walk in the area, can you recommend any other pubs nearby?
Aug 20th, 2003, 09:51 AM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 42
To really understand the Old Bailey you have to read "Rumpole of the Bailey" and others in the series by John Mortimer. Witness for the Prosecution doen's make near enough fun of the barristers . . .
ASCarverIII is offline  
Aug 20th, 2003, 10:12 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,291
Degas, I'm not sure, but based on their reactions to some of the proceedings, I would say that I was not the only tourist. However, I might have been the only non-Britisher!
What made the experience so memorable, in part, was the judge who was a sterotype right out of a PBS mystery. After all these years, I still remember his wonderful voice!
It was also interesting to see the British justice system in action. And, finally, having an interesting case--it was an assault and battery charge for a fracas in a pub--certainly added to my enjoyment.
HowardR is offline  
Aug 20th, 2003, 10:28 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,714
I too have vivid & fond memories of watching a trial at the Old Bailey on my first trip to London more than 30 years ago. It was a particularly good one to watch as the defendant was, unusally, representing himself. The Judge was constantly interrupting to give him instruction on "the law" which was helpful for us in the peanut gallery.
mclaurie is offline  

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