The Grand Unveiling – The Inner Temple’s 400 Year History and the Future of the Iconic Venue
For most people, the Inner Temple is seen as a private estate in the historic heart of London. It’s surrounding by three acres of award-winning gardens overlooking the Thames, and secluded between Temple and Blackfriars Stations. The venue is renowned, yet discreetly found of one of the many walkways off Fleet Street, and the assumption is that it’s one of those historic venues that is shut off to the general public.
It’s true that it’s steeped in history, but the reality from recent archive discoveries is that the Great Hall started hosting Christmas Parties as early as 1614. With over 400 years of festive legacy, this makes it indisputably one of the longest standing Christmas party venues in London, if not the world. The Inner Temple Gardens are even mentioned by Shakespeare, who claimed that the Wars of the Roses began at this very venue. In 1601 he describes how the Inner Temple gardens were newly laid out with ‘large and lovely walks . . . ornified with beautiful banks, curious knots and beds of fragrant flowers, and sweet herbs of sundry scents.’
These horticultural links continued, and during the Victorian era the Inner Temple began its tradition of hosting some of London’s leading flower shows. In 1888 the Royal Horticultural Society chose the site to stage its Spring Flower Show. They returned each year until 1911, when the shows increasing numbers compelled the RHS to find a larger home – the Royal Hospital in Chelsea. Echoes of the long history of the garden can be found in the ancient orchard, which is distinguished by a variety of fruit trees, the Queen Anne sundial, and decorated iron gates which date back to around 1730.
Fast forward through the Edwardian era and two World Wars to more modern times and you’ll find the building has flourished while retaining some of the most classic historic features. Although some areas have been restored because of the Blitz bombings in 1940 and 1941, the venues transformation has done nothing to detract from its history.
In recent decades, The Inner Temple has been delivering events for its distinguished members and other society folk. It was here before private dining even became a concept. Those who remember the Inner Temple from days gone by will be reminded of the grand dinner parties and society weddings that took place in the adjacent (and equally famous) Temple Church.
In 2019 The Inner Temple began its most recent and extensive refurbishment, which is now coming into its final stages. The project consisted of grand extension works, as well as adding two new floors of modern event spaces. The transformation of the venue includes purpose-built conference facilities and versatile training and meeting rooms - of course, all complete with beautiful views. The team of architects used exceptional designs and created a fabulous blend of old-meets-new. Meanwhile, the ambience of the estate and tranquil surrounds have been kept, and lend themselves to a wide array of event options and experiences.
As we look ahead to Christmas 2021 and next summer, it’s clear that incorporating event styles such as boardroom meetings to parties will heavily feature in the diary. A mix of receptions and dinners for both the corporate and private customer is also predicted, putting the Inner Temple in good stead for the next generation of events.
The new venue’s key features include:
- 120 seat lecture theatre and self-contained networking space
- 8 meeting and training rooms for up to 18 delegates boardroom style
- Receptions for up to 600
- Dinners for up to 250
- Garden parties for 600
- Marquee hires during selected dates in June/July every year.
Overall, those that seek the classic ideal of ‘a location like no other’ will be satisfied walking into the estate of the Inner Temple. Rarely does a City of London venue benefit from a sweep of lawn in front the entrance, after all. The Inner Temple will reopen for events from Spring 2022 and bookings are being taking now so please get in touch today to be one of the first to experience one of the most exciting London re-openings of 2022.
020 7797 8267