Address: High Holborn, London WC1V 7QJ

Time: No public entry

650m from Farringdon

50m from Chancery Lane

Staple Inn is a magnificent listed building situated in High Holborn which has been linked to the legal profession since the 15th century and is now used by the Institute of Actuaries.

The building can be traced back to 1292 when it was used as a market and named Le Stapled Halle. It specialised in wool with Staple referring to a wool duty. From 1415 the building was used by lawyers who formed the Grand Company and Fellows of Staple Inn.

It became one of the Inns of Chancery in the 16th century and was a centre for providing legal training, being associated with Gray’s Inn, one of the four Inns of Court. Today it is the only surviving Inn of Chancery.

In 1580 the building was extended and a new hall was built. It narrowly escaped damage in the Great Fire of London in 1666, but was in need of a degree of restoration following a fire in 1756. The rebuilding is commemorated in an inscription that can be seen inside. It reads ‘Surrexit ex Flamis Anno don. 1757. Thoma Leech Principal Iterumque reaedificata 1954’. The reference to 1954 relates to restoration work following bomb damage in 1944. The building has an internal courtyard.

In 1886 the building was sold to the Prudential Assurance Company for £65,000 and leased back by the Institute. In 1936 the buildings at the front were restored after 350 years.

The Hall was refurbished in 1996 and today many original features can be seen inside the building including furnishings and stained glass. Retail shops occupy the street level rooms, but these have markedly subdued advertising in contrast to normal High Street signage.

Whilst undoubtedly, to historians, one of the most famous landmarks in central London, to tourists it often goes under the radar.

Click on the pics below for an enlarged view and use the arrow towards the right edge of each pic to go on to the next.