Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Holborn Bar and Barnard’s Inn Hall

Holborn Bar

Holborn Bar Prudential Assurance building, 142 Holborn Bars, EC1

If you’ve ever visited Holborn in London, you would probably have noticed the large red brick building that seems to dominate the area.  This is the Prudential Assurance building and it was built between 1879 and 1901.  It was designed by Alfred Waterhouse and is in the Victorian Gothic style.

Detail Holborn Bar

I have always wanted to explore inside the building and in the courtyards and on this particular day, I was conveniently disguised as an office worker in a fancy suit and so I went in.  Prudential Insurance moved out in 2002 and it looks like DeVere Venues hires out this Grade II listed building as a conference, training and events venue now. 

Arches at Holborn Bar


Barnard's Inn Hall

Barnards Inn Hall

When I went on the Secret London walk earlier this year, we visited Gresham College but I did not take photos of Barnard’s Inn Hall because I did not realise its significance.

Barnard’s Inn is a really old building, dating back to at least 1252 when it was recorded as part of the estate of the Mayor of London, Sir Adam de Basyng.  It was established as an Inn of Chancery in 1454 and it was an Inn for law students who then passed on to the Inns of Court.  Barnard’s Inn has been part of Gresham College since 1991.  Today it is used for meetings, dinners and functions. 

I visited one of the Inn’s of Court, Lincoln's Inn in Holborn,  back in August (on a decidedly sunnier day).  I love the sense of occasion, history and importance that one feels walking around these beautiful buildings.

Barnards Inn Hall - weathervane

The photo above reminds me of what is fast becoming my London mantra: always look up!  There are so many treasures to be found in this city when you just look up and notice the world around you.

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17 comments

  1. Holborn bar really is a gorgeous building! (It's amazing the places you can get into if you're dressed professionally and look like you're on important business!)

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  2. Lovely and you're the second person who has referred to the Secret London tour. Will look into it!
    p.s.: I'm sad that it's gotten colder in London! What a shame!!

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  3. What beautiful buildings! You're right about needing to look up. Also look around and behind you...there's something to see in every direction in your wonderful city.

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  4. My new mantra: always walk around important and elegant buildings in a fancy business suit. You may not legitimately belong there, but at least it LOOKS as if you might :)

    Good photos! Holborn Bar seems older and more venerable than late Victorian.

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  5. Isn't London amazing for striking architecture that's hidden away? I visited last weekend and was lucky enough to cycle around the (deserted) financial district with some locals on our Barclays bikes. We came across this most amazing mall with arches similar to the one you found in Holburn, and with huge dangling lights that swayed in the wind and cobbled paths throughout. I love finding hidden gems.

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  6. Woah....mega-gorgeous...LOVE these shots Emm..and love the mantra...powerful! thanks for this superb eye-candy...i am super excited now!
    Beautiful!
    Kiki

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  7. Great shots! Inspired me to take a trip to Holborn and see what magic I can find!
    -Danielle

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  8. So many buildings we pass on a daily basis without knowing their history. I'm glad you're learning about them and passing on their history. Funny how these old buildings are used for modern office work.

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  9. That building it just... wow.

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  10. Wonderful architecture. I like your covert entrance while visiting.

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  11. it's great to see all these historic buildings are well-maintained. your second photo is so wonderfully composed Emm. beautiful discovery and a great reminder to take time to enjoy the beauty around us.

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  12. Great buildings and architecture. I am so happy to live in my little town.. without a single very large building like this, but I would love to visit such places. I like especially pic nr 2.
    Happy Sunday to you:-)

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  13. And Gresham College runs a series of really interesting lectures on all kinds of subjects. I think they've been doing it since the 16th century! (although the lectures move with the times )

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  14. Holborn Bar and Barnard’s Inn Hall are places which I will have to pop in and visit one of these days. Visiting beautiful old buildings and that step back in time feeling yu get when wander around such places is a real buzz...

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  15. Great shots Mandy! Lovely buildings...
    Sometimes, through your blog I find out about places I didn't know about. It's strange but those of my new friends in Hamburg who've spent all their lives in this city tell me the same, that sometimes I know places they've never heard about.
    I guess when you've just moved to a city you want to learn as much as you possibly can... when you've lived somewhere for a long time, you're used to the area you've lived in, but you don't necessarily know much about the rest of the city. I could draw up a map of the Richmond and Kingston area for you but I'd need a guidebook to find famous sights in other boroughs of the city

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  16. @ Li: Definitely! And they didn't notice me taking photos while I played with my phone either!

    @ Oneika: The Secret London tour is based on a book, so it is self-guided. I'd be happy to take a tour with you!

    @ Wendy: Hmmm, I'm guessing you were at Leadenhall Market. It is gorgeous!

    @ Kathy: Agreed. London is just spectacular.

    @ Hels: It is really grand! Maybe I got the timing wrong?

    @ Victoria: Thank you!

    @ Danielle: Yes! Do it! There is a lot to see around there!!!

    @ Karen: I'm just glad they are used, and not left vacant.

    @ Sonia: Agreed.

    @ Rob: I know! I am a ninja!

    @ Life Ramblings: Thank you, and I absolutely agree.

    @ Spiderdama: I often wonder if I could live in nature as I love and crave city life.

    @ Jenny: Yes! I wrote about them back in January and the lectures they hold.

    @ William: You must!!

    @ Dominic: That was the absolute aim behind this blog - to appreciate where I was and experience it with the sense of wonder of a tourist.

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  17. The main problem for all great cities no matter how big or small it maybe,is the stereotyping of its tourist places.Some beautiful gems like this buildings are not getting much attention.Anyway, like all other monumental buildings in London this is also strikingly beautiful.Thank You Emm.
    Iam also doing a walking tour in my city.Please visit palakkadwalks.blogspot.com

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