London Open House 2017 – Supreme Court, Admiralty House

After visiting 55 Broadway Bertie and I walked along to the Supreme Court, and found the queue was so long we weren’t going to get it. Julie and Hannah had enjoyed their explore. The building was completed in 1913, designed by the Scottish architect James Gibson. It was used by Middlesex County Council until 1965, then became a Crown Court. The outside reliefs depict historical scenes, including King John handing the Magna Carta to the barons at Runnymede. You can download an audio tour here and visit quite easily. I would like to do so.

We had a snack for a very late lunch, then finished our explorations with Admiralty House. We were shown to the front of the queue, and the wheelchair ramp was fun! The staff were lovely. Photos here were fine.

It was built in 1785 for Earl Howe, the first Lord of the Admiralty, and designed by Samuel Pepys Cockerell – he was a great, great nephew of the diarist. He also designed the Foundling Hospital, bits of Bloomsbury, and Sezincote House in Gloucestershire. It is now owned by the Cabinet Office, and has been used temporarily as the Prime Minister’s office – Harold Macmillan’s “Night of the Long Knives” took place here. The Inner Reception has a wonderful black stove and clock – I wanted to walk off with the clock. The staircase is very tight, and there is a list of First Lords of the Admiralty – including Admiral Lord Barham, 1805. Julie pointed out that he is the one the loco is named after – and I have found an article about him in History Today 15.5 (1965).


Here are two lovely fireplaces, and a couple of other photos to whet your appetite for next year’s Open Houses. Thank you for this year – next year we’ll try and get the whole weekend off.

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