Two entries in a year – shameful. I’m going to do this daily now, I swear it, if it should kill me.
So – verse 2 of the Judge’s song in Trial By Jury contains a number of interesting allusions.
The struggling young barrister isn’t getting any briefs, so ‘In Westminster Hall I danced a dance/Like a semi-despondent Fury/For I thought I never should hit on a chance of addressing a British jury’.
This references ages the Judge considerably, for in 1875, it had been some 55 years since the oldest building in the Palace of Westminster had been used as a law court. Instead, this venerable building – the site of the trial of Charles I – had miscellaneous uses, including exhibitions, drill practices and a meeting hall for volunteers. A devastating fire in 1834 had put paid to its Parliamentary function too, and resulted in the construction of the iconic Pugin building on the banks of the Thames that now houses our legislative bodies. So, by the time of Trial, the Hall would not have seen many semi-despondent legal Furies dancing around its precincts.
If you want to find out more about its history, there’s an excellent virtual tour here.