The public has been given a once-in-a-life-time opportunity to try on wigs and gowns, hear how judges prepare for cases, and even make the walk from the dock to the cells at Lincoln Crown Court when the historic site opened its doors to celebrate 200 years of serving the community and delivering justice.
Residents were invited into the historic court building at the weekend to explore its rich history, relive criminal trials over the past two centuries, and take a behind-the-scenes look at how justice is done.
Court hearings have taken place on the same site in the grounds of Lincoln Castle as far back as the 11th century. Building on the current Crown Court building began in 1823, designed by Sir Robert Smirke, with a grand jury room and 2 courtrooms to hear criminal and civil cases.
In March 1872, the court held the trial of William Frederick Horry who was convicted of murdering his wife and became the first person in the UK to be executed by the long drop method of hanging.
The building still hears criminal cases from across Lincolnshire today, and the open day offered a unique hands-on opportunity to take in its courtrooms, defendant dock, cells, and jury rooms.
Judges, magistrates and court staff were on hand to answer questions, and families could speak to Probation Service and Crown Prosecution Service teams about how they each play a vital role right across the modern-day justice system.
Justice Minister Mike Freer said: “As well as a world-leading justice system, we have a truly historic courts estate with fascinating histories and stories to tell.
We are investing millions of pounds every year to ensure our court buildings are fit for the future and reflect our high standards, while also preserving their unique and incredibly important history.
The open day followed an announcement from the government that court buildings across the country will benefit from £220 million for essential modernisation and repair work across the next 2 years to minimise disruptions caused by old buildings. Improvements will maintain the heritage of the courts and tribunals estate, while ensuring it is equipped with the latest technology to deliver modern justice as well as improving accessibility for all users.