Monday, 5 August 2013

Class 12: Middle Temple Library (24/07/2013) 

Middle Temple Law Library 
One of the two oldest globes in England
Opening in 1958, the Middle Temple Library is one of the four inns of court; the other three inns being Lincoln, Inner and Gray, which work in tandem to house various collections. Our class toured the Middle Temple Law Library today.

With records dating back from the Tudor times, this library contains a collection that is immersed in history. Renae Satterley, one of the librarians, was gracious enough to show us all around. We learned about the extensive law (European, American and a small international section) collection that is available, in house and on-line (they use all the usual databases), saw the two oldest globes made in England and library's most unique acquisition, the Prime Minister portrait gallery collection. Before heading to a different section, Ms. Satterley showed us a 19th Century lithograph of the Declaration of Independence, which holds a dear importance to them because five of the signers were from Middle Temple.

After looking at the library, we were brought into an prestigious part of Middle Temple, the Bench Apartments. Considered a high honor, members have to be asked to be benchers. Some well known members include Prince William, the Queen Mother and Princess Diana. Ms. Satterley took us to see the smoking room, the Queen's Room, which had ceiling that matched the design on the carpet, and the Temple Hall.

Double Banner Beams 
 Built in 1570, this hall is special because of the double banner beam roof. Costing twice the amount of money, this type of beam can only be found in 3 other places that they know of. Not only used for dining, the Temple Hall was built to host lectures, events and balls. Best facts we learned today was how one of the hallways was used in the taping of Bridget Jones's Diary, how the Temple Hall was used for the third release of Harry Potter and how it also housed the first performance of 12th Night. Always a sucker for pop culture references, these facts were my favorite to learn today!!

There is no official website, that I could find, for Middle Temple Library. I did check out their Facebook though and it was very informative. It can be found here:
Smoking Room in the Benchers Apartments 

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