14 August 2015

Tour and Lunch at Middle Temple Hall

I cannot believe I haven't posted about this earlier as it was way back in April that I did this.
Hidden away between Fleet Street and The Embankment is an area where it feels like time has stood still for centuries. In amongst the legal offices is the magnificent Elizabethan Middle Temple Hall.
Guided tours are available and these include outer rooms and offices.
A fantastic buffet lunch is served most weekdays. You don't have to be a member of the Inns of Court or on a tour to eat there; just pre-book through the website, but note that there is a dress code of sorts (no jeans or trainers) and no photos are allowed during meal time.
If you want to go on a guided tour, where pre-meal photos are allowed (as you can clearly see from here) then again, please check the website.

Top left: the exterior of the building.
Bottom right: a close-up of the wonderful hammer-beamed Tudor ceiling.
The other three pics show tables being laid ready for lunch.
All around the walls, around the main hall and all along the adjoining corridors, are members' coats of arms laid out in chronological order. I was amused to see that many of these were loosely inspired by the surnames, such as Field-Fisher, Lilley, Shelley, Hollis, Elverston and Swan.
I was also captivated by the stained and coloured glass and the standard of craftsmanship that went into the making of them. Note the close-ups above showing some very amusing lions.
  
More things that caught my eye.Top row: A very long table made from one piece of wood; interiors from two of the other rooms; a rare painting of Queen Elizabeth IIMiddle row: James II and William II showing off their fashion sense; The Queen Mother; The Right Honorable Charles Abbot Baron Tenterden wearing a truly marvellous wig; Sir Henry Montague in a wonderfully deep ruffle collar, which makes me wonder... surely this is a fashion device that has yet to recur... you read it here first, dear readers... The big designers will have these in their collections very soon.Bottom row: George I's fabulous ankle boots; a painting of The Judgement of King Solomon, though why these women felt it necessary to have their breasts on display like that I don't know.
And finally, bottom right, a round table that confused me... what shape are the drawers in this piece? Are they all 45 degrees such that they swing/angle out rather than pull out straight on runners? Or perhaps only four are real drawers and the alternate ones are fake. Hmmm. But there were keyholes on all sections. I had a surreptitious pull on the knobs but it was locked. Any ideas?

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