Royal Courts of Justice

Royal Courts of Justice (57)

This massive neo-Gothic building serves as the main civil courts of the United Kingdom, the Court of Appeal and the High Court of Justice of England and Wales, which means that important cases are judged here concerning matters such as divorces or civil liabilities. 

After a lot of debate about where to place it, and after assessing the projects of 11 architects who presented their proposals in the public tender, in 1868 George Edmund Street was assigned the task. The construction work, according to Street’s plans, which he had designed from the foundations to the carvings and spires that decorate it, were carried out from 1873 until 1882, the year when it was opened by Queen Victoria.

The ground plan of this grey stone complex is a square measuring 140 metres per side. The main façade, situated in the Strand, stands imposing with its 74 metres height. The public, except in the cases of adoption, has access to the majority of trials and is allowed to sit in the last two rows. You must be quiet though. If you decide to go inside you can appreciate the splendid oak panels that cover the walls of the oldest rooms.

During the 20th century, due to lack of space, successive enlargements were carried out which, in the form of annexes, were added to the original structure. This is the case of the West Green, designed in 1910, or the 12 new rooms of the Queen’s Building, which were opened in 1968. 

Today this formidable legal complex in which 150 people work, has a total of 1000 rooms and almost 6 kilometres of corridors. Among the many anecdotes surrounding the building, features the fact that there is a secret passage inside called the Chicken Run.

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