There is also a fascinating history of Parliament Square itself through the centuries as it accidentally turned into a “traffic island laid out to display sculpture”. The present Mayor of London has shelved plans to turn this “a green glade of heroes into a vast, blasted chewing gummed piazza”.
Hugh Fielden, architect for the Supreme Court project, describes clearly how the team went about their task including their battles with the conservationists. Readers will decide whether they agree that “the cultural significance of the new Supreme Court outweighed the significance of the historic courtroom furniture”. This has largely been moved or dispersed in order to create the sort of court rooms which were deemed suitable for their new occupants.
The last word goes to HH Fabyan Evans, the penultimate presiding judge of Middlesex Crown Court, who describes the lost world of the 20th Century criminal practitioner before poignantly summing up the feelings of those who used and loved the building. He and Lord Bingham in particular know how not to waste a word in what they say. It doubtless was a particular challenge to edit eight such well qualified authors but there is the slight irritation that sometimes the same insight winds up being repeated by someone else in another chapter. The only thing missing is what it has been like to use the building.