Investigating the recordkeeping practises of earlier generations at the Inn and the how documents gradually moved from the Treasury to their final home in the Archive Repository.
Although we know that the Inn had a small library prior to 1540, an early account about the Inns of Court states that Middle Temple ‘had a simple library in which were not many bookes besides the law and that library by meanes that it stood always open, and that the learners had not each a key unto it, it was at last robbed of all the bookes in it’!
Robert Ashley, a member of the Middle Temple, died in 1641, bequeathing all of his books to the Inn to found a library there, and £300 to employ a Library Keeper. While Ashley did practise as a lawyer, he was more successful as a translator and bibliophile. William Cox was one of the executors of Ashley’s will and was commissioned to create a catalogue of his books; Cox was the first Library Keeper from 1642 to 1655.
Exploring the archival legacies and sketching the stories of four early and pioneering Black members of the Middle Temple, who came from diverse backgrounds and whose paths led them to remarkable achievements.
Tracing the relationship between the Inn and London's great river over the centuries, from daring Elizabethan escapades to seasick Admiralty barristers in the 1930s, via seventeenth century Frost Fairs and the 'Great Stink' of 1858.
Illustrating the Inn's well-established and ongoing royal connections, looking at records and objects including a disgruntled letter from King Charles I and a unique silver bowl.
The Hilary 2020 exhibition in Middle Temple Library explores the various challenges faced by aspiring barristers over the centuries – such as religion, ethnicity, finances, social status, disability and educational background – and tells the stories of some of the incredible individuals who have overcome these barriers on the path to the Bar.
Exploring the role food has played throughout the Inn's history, from eighteenth century disputes over venison pasties to the Grand Day dinners of today.