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  • John Murray

Court Number One: The Old Bailey Trials that Defined Modern Britain

Thomas Grant

8 Reviews

Rated 0

True stories, Criminal justice law

Court Number One of the Old Bailey is the most famous court room in the world, and the venue of some of the most sensational human dramas ever to be played out in a criminal trial.

The principal criminal court of England, historically reserved for the most serious and high-profile trials, Court Number One opened its doors in 1907 after the building of the 'new' Old Bailey. In the decades that followed it witnessed the trials of the most famous and infamous defendants of the twentieth century. It was here that the likes of Madame Fahmy, Lord Haw Haw, John Christie, Ruth Ellis, George Blake (and his unlikely jailbreakers, Michael Randle and Pat Pottle), Jeremy Thorpe and Ian Huntley were defined in history, alongside a wide assortment of other traitors, lovers, politicians, psychopaths, spies, con men and - of course - the innocent.

Not only notorious for its murder trials, Court Number One recorded the changing face of modern British society, bearing witness to changing attitudes to homosexuality, the death penalty, freedom of expression, insanity and the psychology of violence. Telling the stories of twelve of the most scandalous and celebrated cases across a radically shifting century, this book traces the changing face of Britain, the decline of a society built on deference and discretion, the tensions brought by a more permissive society and the rise of trial by mass media.

From the Sunday Times bestselling author of JEREMY HUTCHINSON'S CASE HISTORIES, COURT NUMBER ONE is a mesmerising window onto the thrills, fears and foibles of the modern age.

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Praise for Court Number One: The Old Bailey Trials that Defined Modern Britain

  • Praise for Jeremy Hutchinson's Case Histories - -

  • Not just a celebration of a brilliant legal career but also a history of changing mores in Britain - Daily Telegraph

  • A brilliant and absorbing book about the life of a barrister. And what a life - Evening Standard

  • At first glance, you might wonder how interesting a book about a lawyer can be. But once you open the pages of this one, you'll be instantly hooked . . . Totally terrific - Daily Mail

  • Biographies of lawyers are very rare, but Hutchinson's career was so unusually varied that it makes a splendid subject for a book . . . [Grant's] book is clearly and elegantly written, turning Hutchinson's life into a satisfying moral history of 20th-century Britain - Dominic Sandbrook, Literary Review

  • An excellent book - Daily Mail

  • All these cases make thoroughly good reading, while vividly illuminating the morals and mores of that now distant period just a generation ago - Financial Times

  • Grant brilliantly recaptures the tensions and drama of some of the most seminal Old Bailey criminal trials of the Sixties, Seventies and Eighties . . . It is hard to imagine a more interesting time for a criminal advocate to be working and this wonderful book is a celebration not just of the man but of the profession itself - Evening Standard

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Thomas Grant

Thomas Grant QC is a practising barrister and author. He lives in Sussex and London.

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