London’s Old Bailey is England’s central criminal court and as such some very high profile cases are tried here. The area is very historic (the Newgate Gaol stood on the site) but the current building is a mix of Victorian and modern elements (check out the sculpture of justice on the dome).
The visitor’s gallery is open to the public and it’s quite an experience to follow a trial. There will be queues for the high profile cases and (when I visited) you were not allowed in with a mobile phone.
Just as entertaining is to watch the throng of press on Old Bailey road itself who wait (often on stepladders) by the doors. You might also catch a glimpse of the court artists who create pastel pictures for the TV cameras to film. These are often cello taped to the walls for filming. [more ]
To get to Old Bailey you will have to take the tube to St. Paul's.
It is the Central Criminal Court and although it was established 1539. it did not have its current role until 1834 and the Central Criminal Court Act. It is the place where all the high profile UK criminal trials take place. Another a bit gruesome part of the history is that until 1902. Newgate prison was located here, again criminals were hanged or beheaded in the street, in fact it was the Newgate Prison that replaced Tyburn Gallows as a public execution spot. After a while, when the crowds gotten bigger and bigger, they have decided to execute criminals within the prison walls. You can follow the proceedings at Old Bailey from the visitor's gallery, which should give you a better insight into the British judicial system. [more ]
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