I'm a huge fan of London Walking Tours ever since we went on a great "Jack the Ripper" tour many years ago. Today I indulged in two of them, and for some reason am not as tired as I was yesterday...
The first was "The Inns of the Court" and learned much about the legal system here. At one point I told the guide that all I knew about the London legal system was from watching "Rumpole of the Bailey" and she laughed and confessed that she was a huge fan too.
The Inns began centuries ago when the legal system was in chaos. The king (one of the Edwards, in the 1400s) decreed there must be a system for training people (all men, of course). They were called Inns because the students were boarding students. Even today, every barrister must belong to one of the four remaining Inns. Inns and many law offices are within easy walking distance from each other and several of the courts.
Each Inn has its symbol.
Our guide Molly.
Benchers are officials of the Inn.
There's London (spread out over miles and miles and miles) and then there's the City of London - the core.
Very old cobblestones.
The building on the left isn't a church, as I would suspect. It's the dining hall for students - quite grand!
THE place to buy your wig and gown when you are called to the bar. Long ago, judges traveled to different locations and held court in whatever large space they could find. Everyone crowded around with their petitions. Eventually they put up a bar to give some space for the judge, and he would "call up to the bar" the friend or colleague who would speak for you.
Just the tip of the Royal Courts of Justice iceberg, so to speak. It's absolutely GINORMOUS!