The Royal Opening
Queen Victoria opened the Royal Courts in December 1882 after eleven years of construction. The building instantly became an awe-inspiring landmark in the heart of London’s Fleet Street.
11 Architects competed for the contract for the Law Courts (believing they were designing a Cathedral) with each submitting alternative designs with the view of the possible placing of the building on the Thames Embankment.
George Edmund Street
In 1868 it was decided that George Edmund Street, R.A. was to be appointed the sole architect for the Royal Courts of Justice and it was he who designed the whole building from foundation to varied carvings and spires.
George Edmund Street sadly died before the building was opened. It is believed that the stress of the task may have contributed to his death, at the age of 57.
Did you know?
- Parliament paid £1,453,000 for the 6-acre (24,000 m2) site.
- The building was paid for by cash accumulated in court from the estates of the intestate.
- A homeless person was once found living in the basement of the courts.
- The Lord Chief Justice’s Court was originally Court 6. He believed it to be unlucky and requested it be renumbered Court 4, as it is today.
- Room 666 is the only one of the renovated ‘Treasury Solicitor’ rooms from which the professional stone cleaners have been unable to remove the original painted numbers, despite many efforts at great cost. Room 666 (pictured below) is also considered the coldest room at the Royal Courts and a room rarely used today.
How to find us
The Royal Courts are close to many London Hotels and attractions, including Covent Garden, Somerset House, the London Eye, Big Ben and St Paul's Cathedral.
Temple and Holborn (7 Minutes by foot), Chancery Lane (9 Minutes by foot), St Paul's Tube (15 Minutes by foot)
Bus numbers 4, 11, 15, 23, 26, 76, 172, and 341 stop outside the RCJ.
Bus numbers 1, 59, 68, 91, 168, 171, 188, 243, 521 and X68 stop on Kingsway and Aldwych.
There are numerous cycle hire docks near by.
The Courts are open from 9:30am to 16:30pm Monday to Friday all year round.
The building is DDA (Disability Discrimination Act) compliant for wheelchair users.