The Corridor between the Four Courts and Rear Yard Extension, 1857

The 1836 works to the Four Courts not only included fitting a new Law Library, Rolls Court and Nisi Prius Court into the back of the original building, but also involved the erection of an additional rear building comprising a Solicitors Building (situate where the current Law Library is today), Benchers’ rooms and coffee room and various Chancery offices and courts.

The construction of this rear edifice as a separate building linked to the main Four Courts by a small open passage caused much dissatisfaction among members of the Bar, culminating in the following threatened memorial to the Benchers published in the Dublin Evening Mail of 28 October 1857:

“Your memorialists beg leave respectfully to call your attention to the great inconvenience and danger to health to which those members of the Bar who practise in the courts and chambers of the Masters in Chancery are exposed when required to proceed in court costume to discharge their duties in those courts, especially during the winter season, in proceeding uncovered and unsheltered from the inclemency of the weather across the open court yards… members of the Bar being constantly called from overheated courts to proceed through the open air without change of or addition to their dress..”

It is not clear whether the memorial was ever sent. However all subsequent maps of the Four Courts show the passage covered over. An early victory for the Bar!

Author: Ruth Cannon BL

Irish barrister sharing the history of the Four Courts, Dublin, Ireland, and other Irish courts.

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