Our group was not to be charged with a mass speeding offence but rather make a visit to the senior appeal courts in the land, The Royal Courts of Justice on The Strand. On Friday March 10th we caught the 9.18 from Winchester and met our quite excellent guide at 11.30 who ushered us through a cavernous Victorian space, as akin to a cathedral as might be. Pat told us later that on Monday nights three badminton courts are laid out in its space for the staff. The building is laid out so that Judges, Counsel and appellants never meet, save in court, so we were led through the ‘great unwashed‘ corridors to a fascinating talk. All nineteen specialist courts were mentioned and we were reminded that Geoffrey Archer and Jonathan Aitken both had their appeals turned down before serving due time. Lastly at the end of the tour we were shown the ‘unfinished’ pillar hanging in space without a base because the architect, Edward Street, was deeply religious and believed only God could perfect a building. In fact the Illustrated London News of March1886 already bemoaned the lack of adequate heating, lighting and ventilation.

After a snack lunch, often courtesy of Pret a Manager, twenty of us enjoyed an informative talk at St Clement’s Church of the Danes, which Alfred the Great had allowed to be built just outside the city of London (Google it!) Now the Central Church of the RAF, it was burnt out in WWII and then rebuilt as Christopher Wrenn had rebuilt once before. As we left on the hour the bells rang out ‘Oranges and Lemons’, a tune ascribed to the oranges and lemons brought up the river to the local market. Thus, after an invigorating and educational day thanks to the immaculate planning of Clive and Jackie Boot, we returned to Waterloo and to Winchester.

Richard Costard