A group of Paviors and guests enjoyed a tour of Gray’s Inn on Tuesday 25 June. Gray’s Inn is the smallest of the four Inns of Court, with an active membership of around five and a half thousand, including approximately 300 students. The Inn supports, educates and develops its aspiring and practising Barrister Members in accordance with historic traditions. The Inn dates from at least 1370, and takes its name from Baron Grey of Wilton within the Manor of Portpoole.
The group was welcomed to the Inn by Sam Hutchinson, a senior member of the Inn’s administrative team, who recounted some of the Inn’s history before leading the group on a tour of some its more notable buildings. South Square was visited first. This provided the opportunity to see the exteriors of the Banqueting Hall, the Chapel, the Library and some of the Inn’s buildings dating back to the Middle Ages – although many buildings have been reconstructed following extensive damage during the Blitz. The Square also includes a statue of Francis Bacon, the famous philosopher and statesman.
The interior of the Banqueting Hall was visited next, with its stained glass windows and magnificent hammerhead roof, rebuilt after the Blitz. Next visited was the Chapel, where a pianist was practising for one of the free concerts organized by the Inn that we due to take place that evening. The Inn has extensive grounds – particularly given its location in the heart of London, and the group visited these in both Gray’s Inn Square and The Walks, both surrounded by historic buildings, now housing chambers of various law companies.
The visit concluded with an excellent four-course lunch in the Hall Gallery. Many thanks are due to Julia Lofthouse for arranging such an interesting and enjoyable visit.