Middlesex Sessions House

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People gather in groups in a very high hall with arches, high windows, and staircases.
Sessions House as seen in 1810

The Former Middlesex Sessions House is a building on Clerkenwell Green in the London Borough of Islington in London, England.

History[edit]

It was built in 1780 for the Middlesex Quarter Sessions of the justices of the peace, replacing nearby Hicks Hall which had fallen into disrepair. The new sessions house also was for some time known as "Hicks Hall".

The Sessions House served as the main judicial and administrative centre of Middlesex until the creation of Middlesex County Council and the London County Council in 1889. In the division of assets between the new bodies in that year, the Sessions House was within the boundaries of the County of London and was allocated to the London County Council. It continued in use for judicial purposes until 1921 when it was sold and all remaining business was transferred to the Sessions House in Newington Causeway. The administration of Middlesex was later based at the Middlesex Guildhall in Westminster, which was also within the County of London.

From 1931 to 1973 the Old Sessions House served as the headquarters of W & T Avery Ltd., manufacturers of weighing-machines and scales.[1] After their departure the building fell into further disrepair, until in 1978 it was acquired and restored by a masonic trust, and the following year opened as the London Masonic Centre, incorporating conference and social facilities.[1][2] In 2013 it was announced that it was to be sold to the proprietors of Home House, a private members' club in London's West End, to be run as a similar amenity in an area which is becoming increasingly known for its growing number of technology companies.[3]

Architecture[edit]

The Sessions House is substantially larger than Hicks Hall and was built in the classical style (in the ionic order).

In contrast with the modest sessions houses of earlier days, the new Middlesex Sessions House was built with imperial grandeur in its proportions and decoration.

The dome which covers its entrance hall and staircase is a copy of that of the Pantheon in Rome.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Temple 2008.
  2. ^ The Old Sessions House - History[dead link]
  3. ^ Neville, Simon (27 September 2013). "Home House to woo London's tech staff with Clerkenwell club". The Independent (London). Retrieved 11 January 2014. 

Further reading[edit]

Coordinates: 51°31′21″N 0°06′22″W / 51.5226°N 0.1060°W / 51.5226; -0.1060