British Studies 2014

kimiekelly's Having Fun Abroad album on Photobucket

Middle Temple Law Library - Wednesday - July 23rd

I found the Middle Temple Law Library very interesting.  It is the second law library we visited this course.  I was excited to visit, as I am keenly interested in law libraries in general and as I find them to be parallel to medical libraries.  Both are highly specialized and cater to a specific population. 

We learned, before entering the library, that this area of London was originally the headquarters to the Knights Templar.  The Temple Church from the late 12th century stands here and I am shocked at the age of its origin.  After exploring the grounds for a few minutes, we enter the library and are introduced to our guide Renae Satterley.  Renae is Deputy Librarian of Middle Temple Inn library.  Throughout this course we have met many librarians who are not originally from England.  Renae is no exception to this theme, as she is originally from Montreal, Canada.  

Renae explains to our class that there are four Inns of Court and Middle Temple is one of those Inns. Each of these Inns has a library which serves barristers,
judges, and law students who belong to an Inn of Court.  Each of the law libraries has law subject specialties.  For instance, Middle Temple Library is the specialist library for ecclesiastical law.  They also focus largely on American and international law.  Middle Temple library is open to any member of the four Inns of Court.

The first thing I noticed when we enter the library is two large globes contained in glasses cases.  I did some research and discovered that they are terrestrial and celestial globes by Emery Molyneux.  Molyneux is credited as being the first English globe-maker. It is believed these globes were donated by Robert Ashley. Ashleyis also credited with the library being re-founded in 1641 for donating his personal collection of books.  

It is believed that the Inns were established in the late 1300’s.  The Middle Temple library has existed prior to 1540 in various locations before finding its current home here in 1958. Part of Middle Temple is the Middle Temple Hall.  Each Inn of Court has a hall.  These halls are used for various functions and can be rented for corporate events or even weddings.  Student members of the Inns are required to attend 12 "dinners" or sessions in these halls.  These sessions are usually a combination of dinner and a lecture or debate.
Middle Temple Hall decorated for an event.  Photo courtesy of :

At the end of our library tour Renae leads us to the Middle Temple Hall.  When we arrive there we find caterers are busy decorating the room for an upcoming event.  It is gorgeous and I can sense that our whole class is mesmerized by its magnificence.  
My view of Middle Temple Hall