Monday, November 27, 2006

The Walk, Gray's Inn Gardens - London

Lawyers eating lunch in Grays Inn Fields in London

This photo of Grays Inn Gardens in London is part of one of the panoramic images found on the Tour of London. There are over 100 images taken from around London linked to an interactive map.

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The Walks of Gray’s Inn Gardens is an open space next to Gray’s Inn, bordered by Theobalds Road to the north and Gary’s Inn to the east. Like any other open square or park, they are very popular with workers from the surrounding area during lunchtime in the summer. For the visitor too they make a good place to relax for a while before continuing to explore the surrounding areas.

Gray’s Inn, with which this field is associated, is one of the four Inns of the Court around the Royal Courts of Justice, and a home of barristers. The other Inns are Lincoln’s Inn, Inner Temple and Middle Temple. These legal quarters date back to the 14C, and is a place of training and support for lawyers.

The Gardens are officially known as The Walks, and were laid out by Sir Francis Bacon (who courted, but never gained, the favour of Queen Elizabeth I) near the end of the 1500’s. Records from 1597 show it was: 'ordered that the summe of £7. 15s. 4d due to Mr Bacon, for planting of elm-trees in the walkes, be paid next term'. In the following year more trees were planted at the cost of £60. 6s. 8d'. Unfortunately the construction of the Raymond Buildings and the Verulam Buildings destroyed both his mount and flower garden respectively, but much of the rest still remains. The man in charge of The Walks is known as the Mater of the Walks.

Gates dating 1723 lead into The Walks from Field Court, and remind all that the area is open to members, to the public during the summer, and never to dogs. On the gate posts are mounted griffons bearing the shields of the Inner Temple. The main feature of The Walks is the broad gravel path that runs North-South from Thoebalds Road down an avenue of mature trees. Set off on either side of this avenue are plantings of flowers and ornamental shrubs.

As well as being a location of Lawyers, Gray’s Inn also contains a Great Hall, the location for students to eat and often the location of plays and other entertainment. Gray's Inn became famous for dancing, masques, river pageants, revels and plays. Queen Elizabeth herself was the Grays Inn's Patron Lady and in 1594, under the patronage of Henry Wriothesley, Shakespeare put on his Comedy of Errors within the Hall.

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The nearest tube stations are Chancery Lane and Russell Square. The British Museum and Brunswick Gardens are also close by.

The full panoramic image taken of the The Walks in Gray's Inn Gardens can be found on the London tour by An enlargement of this photo can be found on Flickr.

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