The Buildings

Article Index

The Temple Church

Church

The oldest part of the church is the Round which was consecrated in 1185. The quire was consecrated in 1240. The church was seriously damaged during the Second World War but when the damage was made good the reredos by Wren which had been removed by the 19th century 'restorers', was replaced. For many centuries it has been the custom for Members of the Inner Temple to sit on the south side of the church. The church is served by the Master of the Temple who resides in the Master's House adjoining the church. The usual Sunday services are Holy Communion at 8.30 am and Morning Prayer at 11.15 am.

 

Hall

Hall

The Hall stands on the site of one of the ancient halls of the Knights of the Temple. At the west end survives a portion of the medieval hall constructed by the lawyers on the site, consisting of an old buttery and undercroft. In the undercroft there is a fine 15th-century fireplace. The mediaeval Hall was taken down in 1868 and replaced by a larger Gothic Hall which was destroyed by enemy action in 1941. The foundation stone of the present Hall was laid by Her Majesty the Queen in 1952.

 

Library

Library

The Library, one of the oldest Law Libraries in the country, is mentioned in the records of the Inn as early as 1506. Although the building has been renewed and repaired over the centuries, the Inn's Library has been in continuous use since the early 16th century.
The predecessor of the present building was erected in the 19th century and destroyed by enemy action in 1941. Fortunately all the manuscripts and early printed books had been removed to places of safety, but about 45,000 volumes were lost. Many of the losses have been made good by gifts and purchases. The present library was opened in 1958. It now contains about 70,000 volumes.

 

Chambers

Most of the Chambers in the Inner Temple are used for professional purposes but the chambers above the second floor are generally residential.

 

Crown Office Row

Crown Office

The old Crown Office, from which this building takes its name, was removed to another part of the Temple as long ago as 1621 and has been in the Royal Courts of Justice since 1882. The present building was designed by Sir Edward Maufe, RA. On the south wall is a plaque recording that Charles Lamb, whose father was a servant of the Inn, was born in the building which previously stood on the site and was destroyed in 1941. The carving of Pegasus over the doorway of No 2 is by Sir Charles Wheeler, PRA.

 

Dr Johnson's Buildings

Dr Johnson's Buildings

These chambers were built in 1858 and commemorate by their name the residence of Dr Samuel Johnson at No 1 Inner Temple Lane, which formerly stood on part of the site.

 

 


Farrar's Building

It is thought that the town house of the Bishop of Ely may have stood on this site in the Middle Ages. In a later building, Dr Johnson's biographer James Boswell had his chambers here. The present building was erected in 1876.

 


Francis Taylor Building

This building, completed in 1957, preserves the memory of Sir Francis Taylor, QC, later Lord Maenan, who had been a Bencher for 46 years when he died in 1951. The southern part of the building incorporates the remaining part of the old Tanfield Court, which took its name from Sir Lawrence Tanfield, Baron of the Exchequer in 1607.

 

Harcourt Buildings

Harcourt Buildings

This range of buildings was designed by Sir Hubert Worthington, RA. Its predecessor was destroyed in 1941. The name commemorates Lord Chancellor Harcourt, during whose Treasurership the original building on the site was erected in 1703.

 


Hare Court

Hare Court

The Court takes its name from Nicholas Hare, who rebuilt part of it in 1567, though his building has been long replaced. He was a Judge, one of the Masters of Requests in 1537, and was created Master of the Rolls in 1553. He died in Chancery Lane in 1557 and was buried in the Temple Church. Another occupant of Hare Court was Lord Chief Justice Jeffreys, who had chambers on the west side of the court when he was at the Bar.

King's Bench Walk

Kings Bench Walk

King's Bench Walk takes its name from the King's Bench Office (the office of the chief clerk or master of the Court of King's Bench) which was sited in the Inner Temple from 1621. The original buildings which lined the inn's eastern boundary with Whitefriars were constructed in the 16th and early 17th century but destroyed in the Great Fire of London of 1666, which was finally brought under control in precincts of the Inner Temple. King's Bench Walk was rebuilt, only to be destroyed in another fire 11 years later, in 1677.
The current buildings vary in date from 1678 to 1948. Numbers 1, 6, 12 and 13 were destroyed in the Blitz and had to be reconstructed, apart from the doorway of No. 1 which was rescued and reinstated. Three fine brick doorways at numbers 3, 4 and 5 have been ascribed to Sir Christopher Wren, although there is no evidence for this.

Littleton Building

Littleton Buildings

Constructed from 1992 to 1994 on the site of the 16th century Alienation Office garden, the Littleton building contains the Inns' newest sets of chambers. It replaces Niblett Hall, which had been erected on the site in 1927 to house a lecture room and meeting place, funded by a legacy from William Charles Niblett of Singapore.

 

Mitre Court Buildings

Mitre Court Buildings

Number one was designed by Sir Robert Smirke, the Inner Temple's surveyor, and erected in 1830. No. 2 is a reproduction made necessary by war damage. Sir Edward Coke had chambers in the building known as Fuller's Rents, which formerly stood on this site.

 

Paper Buildings

Paper Buildings

The first buildings on this site were named Heyward's Buildings. They were built in 1610 of timber, lath and plaster. This method of construction was known as 'paperwork' hence the name Paper Buildings. Numbers 1-3 were rebuilt in 1838 after a fire. They were designed by Sir Robert Smirke, the Inner Temple's surveyor, better known as the architect of the British Museum. However, numbers 4 and 5 were both added in 1848 by Sydney Smirke, Sir Robert Smirke's brother, who followed Sir Robert's design for No. 4 but added a Tudor gothic wing at the south to his own design - which was numbered 5 Paper Buildings.
John Selden's chambers were on the site, the present No 1.

Temple Gardens

Nos. 1 and 2, Temple Gardens are part of the Inner Temple. The building was designed by J P St Aubyn and Edward Manningham Barry, son of Sir Charles Barry, the architect of the Houses of Parliament.