Partying at the 450th birthday of The Honourable Society of the Middle Temple

A few days ago I attended a very exclusive party at The Honourable Society of the Middle Temple, one of the four Inns of Court in London which has been a centre of legal education and the home of barristers for almost 500 years. The Middle Temple building and hall are some of the most iconic landmarks of the city, and the event celebrated the 450th anniversary of their construction. Built in the 16th century (completed in 1573) they are considered some of the finest examples of Tudor and Elizabethan architecture.

Middle Temple Hall monica costa london mums magazine collage

The hall is the centrepiece of the building and features a magnificent hammer-beam roof, which is supported by carved wooden angels. The walls are adorned with portraits of notable members of the Inn, and the hall is home to some of the most valuable legal artefacts in the world.

The Middle Temple building and hall have survived some of the most challenging periods in London’s history. In 1666, the Great Fire of London destroyed much of the city, but the Middle Temple building and hall miraculously escaped unscathed. 

Middle Temple london collage

The fire was a defining moment in London’s history, and the Middle Temple building and hall became a symbol of hope and resilience for the people of London.

During the Second World War, London was once again subjected to a relentless bombing campaign, and the Middle Temple building and hall faced their most significant challenge yet. On the night of 10 May 1941, German bombs rained down on London, and the Middle Temple was hit by a bomb, which caused significant damage to the hall. The roof was destroyed, and many of the priceless artefacts were damaged or destroyed. The restoration was completed after the war, and the hall was reconstructed to its original design.

Today, the Middle Temple building and hall remain an essential part of London’s legal and cultural heritage. The Inn continues to be a centre of legal education, and many of the UK’s most distinguished barristers have trained there. The hall is a popular venue for a wide range of events, including weddings, corporate events, and concerts. I could totally see myself dancing a Viennese Waltz dressed in a period costume in this amazing space.

The Middle Temple building and hall are open to the public, and visitors can take a tour of the hall and learn about its fascinating history. The tour includes a visit to the benchers’ library, which houses a collection of legal texts and rare books. Visitors can also view the portraits of notable members of the Inn, including the portrait of Queen Elizabeth I, which hangs in the hall. The Queen donated a long and big table carved out of one piece of oak – the hall had to be built around this wooden masterpiece.

The Middle Temple building and hall have also played a significant role in British culture. 

The Middle Temple Hall, for example, was the site of the first performance of William Shakespeare‘s Twelfth Night in 1602 (famous for the Queen’s surprise attendance), and it was where Sir Francis Drake was knighted by Queen Elizabeth I in 1588. In addition to these historic events, the Middle Temple Hall has also been the venue for many important legal proceedings over the years, including trials, hearings, and ceremonial events.

Another reason why the Middle Temple building and hall are so important to British culture is because of their stunning architecture and interior design. The Middle Temple Hall is a magnificent example of Elizabethan architecture, with its high ceiling, grand fireplace, and beautiful stained glass windows. The hall also features a number of historical artifacts, including the Middle Temple’s coat of arms, which is carved above the fireplace. The Middle Temple’s other buildings are also notable for their impressive architecture, including the Library, which was designed by Sir Christopher Wren in the 17th century.

In addition to their historical and architectural significance, this building and hall have also been used as a location for many films and television shows. The Middle Temple Hall, in particular, has been featured in a number of popular productions, including The Da Vinci Code, Bridget Jones’s Diary, and The Crown. These productions have helped to bring the Middle Temple Hall to a wider audience and have helped to cement its place as one of the most iconic locations in British culture.

One of the reasons why the Middle Temple Hall is such a popular location for film and television productions is because of its grandeur and historical significance. The hall’s impressive architecture and rich history make it the perfect setting for period dramas and historical epics. In The Crown, for example, the Middle Temple Hall was used to depict the historic moment when Queen Elizabeth II announced her intention to reign as queen.

Another reason why the hall is such a popular location for film and television productions is because of its versatility. The hall can be transformed to suit a wide range of different settings and moods, from grand and imposing to intimate and romantic. In Bridget Jones’s Diary, for example, the Hall was used to depict a raucous Christmas party, while in The Da Vinci Code, it was used to depict a tense and dramatic courtroom scene.

In conclusion, the Middle Temple building and hall have played a significant role in British culture for centuries. Their historical and architectural significance, combined with their use as a location for many films and television shows, have helped to cement their place as one of the most iconic locations in Britain. From Shakespeare to The Crown, the Hall has been a witness to some of the most important events in British history, and it continues to inspire and captivate audiences around the world.

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