The Old Bailey, officially known as London’s Central Criminal Court, is more commonly known by its moniker ‘Old Bailey’ – a name taken from the nearby street. It is believed to have derived from
Baillie – a french word from the time of the Norman Conquest, meaning
It was built by Edward Mountford in 1907 on the site of the notorious Newgate Prison, pulled down five years before. Newgate was where the criminals were condemned to death, and dragged up to Tyburn to meet their maker.
Some of the more famous cases in recent history include Peter Sutcliffe being sent down for life (the so-called ‘Yorkshire Ripper’), Jeffery Archer being banged up for perjury, and the Guildford Four’s convictions being quashed on appeal. World War II traitor Lord Haw-Haw was condemned to death here for his Nazi broadcasts to the nation, and Dr. Crippen went down for poisoning his wife. It was also where the Kray Twins finally caught up with justice.
The galleries are usually open to the public, and you have 18 courts to choose from. But try and arrive early for courts 1, 2 or 3 – as they tend to have the best cases.