News releases

08/2013 - News release

Guildhall guides launched for London landmark's 100th birthday

23 May 2013
  • Which honorary Lieutenant-Colonel, who wrote a book 120 years ago advising fellow bankers on the importance of cash reserves and whose son invented the cricket googly, is remembered in the Supreme Court's windows?
  • Which anarchist stone carver played a big hand (literally) in shaping the visual identity of the Supreme Court building, while on the run from the Italian authorities at the beginning of the twentieth century?

The answers to these questions (Bernard Tindal Bosanquet and Carlo Magnoni), and many more, can be found in two new guides to one of London's legal landmarks launched today to mark the beginning of centenary celebrations for the Middlesex Guildhall - now home to the UK Supreme Court.

A fifteen-minute walking tour around the outside of the building gives visitors an insight into the architecture and design features of the Guildhall, originally built in 1913 as home to Quarter Sessions courts and Middlesex County Council. The guide can be freely downloaded as an MP3 file from the Supreme Court website or as an 'app' on both Apple and Android platforms. It is ideal for those visiting outside of the Court's usual opening hours (9.30am - 4.30pm, Monday to Friday), though this weekend visitors are able to look around the home of the UK's highest court on Saturday (25 May, 10am - 4.30pm) as one of a series of special open days.

The audio tour highlights points of architectural interest, telling the story of the rich allegorical design of the exterior decoration of the Guildhall. From the intricate keystones above the ground floor windows to a gate recovered from the old Bridewell Prison and built into the rear of the building, the tour leads visitors back in time to discover more about the architects' aims for the Guildhall and how the site has been linked to public administration and justice for centuries.

Also launched today is a guide detailing the background to each of the heraldic shields depicted in the stained glass of the Supreme Court building. The windows commemorate notable figures from the county's history, concentrating particularly on prominent individuals holding public office around the time of the Guildhall's construction, including a number of Lord-Lieutenants, Dukes and Sheriffs. The guide, written in conjunction with Rupert Barnes of the Historic Counties Trust, can be freely downloadable as a PDF from our Stained glass section of this website or available on loan from the Court's Reception desk.

Visitors to the Supreme Court this Saturday are being invited to share photographs from their trip to help kick-start the Supreme Court's account on Flickr, the photo-sharing website, which will form a new resource for academics, journalists and others seeking to illustrate the work of the Court.

The best images sent to the Court by

will be selected for display on the new profile, which will be available on our new Flickr service.

While there will be no appeal hearings taking place this Saturday, there will be plenty for visitors of all ages to see. In addition to the: courtrooms, library, exhibition and café area, a wide range of portraits from the Middlesex Guildhall Art Collection will be on show and younger visitors will be able to try on barristers' wigs and gowns and even design their own Coat of Arms.


UKSC contacts

Ben Wilson - Head of Communications
020 7960 1887

Anthony Myers - Deputy Head of Communications
020 7960 1886