Francis Taylor Building opened its doors to the public on Saturday and Sunday 19th and 20th January as part of the Temple Open Weekend. The Open Weekend was organised by the Inner and Middle Temple, two separate institutions which were jointly granted the freehold of the Temple lands in 1608 by James I. In order to maintain their rights to the land, they must jointly accommodate and educate legal students, and maintain the Temple Church and its Master. This they have done for 400 years, and it is for this anniversary that the Open Weekend kicked off a series of events run by the Inns this year.
As Francis Taylor Building is seen by the Inner Temple as its flagship Chambers we were asked to open our doors to the public so that they could see how real barristers work, as opposed to the TV variety. Members of Chambers Michael Humphries QC, Gerald Gouriet QC, Philip Petchey, James Rankin, Charles Mynors and Jeremy Pike were on hand to speak about what it is like to be a pupil and then a barrister; whilst members of staff Andrew Briton (Principal Clerk), Tim Hempsted (Junior Clerk) and Jo Chadwick (Chambers Manager) spoke about staffing Chambers. Exhibits in FTB included: A Guide to Pupillage and Tenancy; a Guide to Becoming a Barristers' Clerk; Court Dress of the Legal Profession (including a mannequin dressed in traditional gown and wig, with a red court bag and wig tin); books used by members of Chambers, History of FTB and the Chambers of Robin Purchas QC and a showing of the film '12 Angry Men' in our seminar suite.
We hope everyone who came on the day enjoyed themselves and found the experience interesting, and, for some, enlightening.