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Central Criminal Court


The figure of Justice standing commandingly above the streets of the City of London is a familiar figure. The building she crowns - the Central Criminal Court, universally known as the Old Bailey, is the most famous criminal court in the world.

The Old Bailey has been London's principal criminal court for centuries. Now a crown court centre, it hears cases from the City of London and the Greater London area, and those remitted to it from England and Wales.

How to get to the Old Bailey

The original Old Bailey courthouse was built in 1539 but the history of the court goes back much further as the site had been occupied by the notorious Newgate gaol from medieval times.

Old Bailey The new courthouse designed by Edward Mountford was opened by King Edward VII in 1907. The design mirrors the nearby dome of St Paul's Cathedral.

The Edwardian baroque of Mountford's courthouse is combined in the present building with the modern simplicity of the extra courtrooms, added since the second World War to accommodate the increasing workload resulting from a steady growth in crime.

Famous trials held there include that of William Penn and William Mead for 'preaching to an unlawful assembly' in 1670. More recent trials include those of Oscar Wilde, Dr Crippen, William Joyce ('Lord Haw Haw'), the Krays and the Yorkshire Ripper.

The Official Guide to the Old Bailey is available from the Guildhall Library Bookshop, tel 020 7332 1858.


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