The Old Bailey
Newgate Street, EC4
Nearest Tube: St Paul's
The proper name for this building is the Central Criminal Court, but it is more commonly known as The Old Bailey. This is the heart of the British Justice System, where the most famous and important trials take place.
Some famous past trials include Oscar Wilde who was tried for homosexuality in 1895, Dr Crippen who was tried for the murder of his wife in 1910, and Peter Sutcliffe the 'Yorkshire Ripper' who was tried in 1981.
The Old Bailey is built on the foundations of Newgate Prison, where public executions used to take place. The prison was demolished in 1902 and the present building was opened in 1907.
Some traditions have carried on since the days of Newgate Prison. For example, even today judges traditionally carry a small bunch of flowers at the beginning of each session, a practice that was originally developed in an attempt to somewhat mask the smell of the Newgate cells.
Today there is a public gallery where you can sit and watch the formal rituals and traditions of British law. The porters will be able to tell you which trial will be most interesting or, if you are that way inclined, most gruesome.
Entry to the public galleries is free, but you must be over 14 years of age. Don't take any cameras, videos, recording equipment or mobile phones as these are not allowed (and there is no where to store them).
The Old Bailey is open to the public Mondays-Fridays 10.30am-1pm and 2pm-4pm.
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