On Saturday and Sunday in September, members of the public had the chance to visit two libraries that are not normally open to the public- Inner and Middle Temple Libraries. These two libraries, in addition to those at Lincoln’s Inn and Gray’s Inn, serve the members of the Inns of Court.
Inner Temple Library had 2,300 visitors over the the weekend. A small selection of manuscripts were on display, including the illuminations of the four courts at Westminster c.1460 and royal letters from the Tudor and Stuart period. Other displays featured Sir Edward Marshall Hall and The Murder in the Temple of 1733. A History of the Library booklet was available for visitors to take away and can be downloaded from the link below. The earliest record mentioning a library at Inner Temple dates from 1506.
Middle Temple Library had over 2,400 visitors (not that we’re competing) during the same weekend. Visitors were able to view the Molyneux Globes, the earliest globes made in England and the only recorded pair still in existence as well as a display commemorating 250 years of the publication of Sir William Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England. The latter is a display from the rare books collection at Lillian Goldman Law Library.
Middle Temple Library also published a guide to their history, which can be downloaded from the link below. There has been a library at the Inn since at least Tudor times, but was formally established in 1641.