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Central Criminal Court


  • Travel Genus: Sight
  • Sight Category: Building

Defend the children of the poor and punish the wrongdoer

The Central Criminal Court, better known as the Old Bailey after the street where it is located just outside the former western wall of the City of London. The street follows the line of the original fortified wall, or "bailey", of the City. There have been at least five courthouses on the site. The medieval courthouse was destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666 and was replaced in 1673 by a building where one wall of the courtroom was left open to maximize fresh air in hopes it would reduce the risk that prisoners with gaol fever (typhus) would infect others in court.

The structure is faced in Portland stone and the interior lobbies and a monumental staircase are decorated with Sicilian marble floors, allegorical paintings representing Labour, Art, Wisdom and Truth, and ornate mosaic arches. The building was built with opulently appointed dining room for the judges, four oak-pannelled courtrooms with separate rooms for male and female witnesses and a third for witnesses of "the better class". On top of the 67 foot high dome is a 12 foot gold leaf statue of justice holding a sword and the scales of justice by F W Pomeroy. Note, she is not, as is typically found on such statues, blindfolded. - AsNotedIn


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Timeline

Y/M/D Person Association Description Composition Food Event
Y/M/D Person Association Description Composition Food Event
1907/00/00 Edward William Mountford Architect George Dance's 1774 Old Bailey and the Newgate Prison next door are replaced with a neo-Baroque building by E W Mountford. Built from 1900 to 1907 at a cost of 392,277 pounds, the court was opened by King Edward VII in 1907.
1907/00/00 Central Criminal Court are decorated with Mosaic and mural paintings by Gerald Moira and sculpture (including Justice) by Frederick William Pomeroy.
1910/10/18 Hawley H Crippen Accused Dr Crippen's four day trial for murder begins at the Central Criminal Court, Old Bailey, London.
1932/10/15 Henry Fielding Dickens Work After working more than 15 years presiding over criminal trials at the Old Bailey, Common Serjeant of London Henry Fielding Dickens retires.
1941/00/00 Courts Nos 2 and 3 are heavily damaged by bombing in 1941 and rebuilt in 1945.

Data »

Particulars for Central Criminal Court:
Area of Significance Architecture
Criteria Architecture-Engineering
Sight Category Building
Historic Use Courthouse
Era Edwardian Era
Category for Historic Use Government
Historic Use Government Office
Area of Significance Law, Legal System
Area of Significance Politics-government
Material Portland Stone
Facet of War War - Home Front

Data
English National Heritage List Entry No: 1359218


Creative Works »

WorkTypeAsNotedInCreatorNote
Rumpole of the Bailey (book) Novel John Mortimer
The Kit-Bag (short story) Short Story
Algernon Blackwood And it was here, just when he most desired to keep his mind and thoughts controlled, that the vivid pictures received day after day upon the mental plates exposed in the courtroom of the Old Bailey, came strongly to light and developed themselves ....
The Mysterious Affair at Styles (book) Novel
Agatha Christie "The Mysterious Affair at Styles" is set at the Old Bailey,
The Witness for the Prosecution (short story) Short Story Agatha Christie "The Witness for the Prosecution" is set at the Old Bailey.
Thunderstruck (book) Book
Erik Larson
To be Taken with a Grain of Salt (Short Story) Short Story
Charles Dickens It was a summons to me to serve upon a Jury at the forthcoming Sessions of the Central Criminal Court at the Old Bailey.

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