Future Lawyer Blog

The Bleeding Heart Yard & Tavern

Grace Campbell is one of 21 LLB1 students who won the chance to see her induction work published on Lawbore (she also got an Amazon voucher, just in case this privilege wasn’t enough!). This was part of the #exploringthelaw project – students tracked down 4 buildings of legal significance on a trail around London, researched the locations and then penned a blog post on something they were inspired by.

On my first day as a law student, I was told that I was going to be taking part in an ‘out and about’ task. This involved our group exploring the local area. The different buildings that we visited were far beyond mediocre, they were extraordinary. It was so overwhelming to see how the degree I chose to study, is everywhere that I look. Out of the various destinations, the Bleeding Heart Yard & Tavern was, in my opinion, the most interesting…why? The historical events that have taken place there!

Before I knew about the barbarous event that had taken place in the courtyard, it was the image of the tavern that really intrigued me. The first part that we saw was the main entrance which was very bold compared to the other buildings on the street, with its striking burgundy entrance. Also, the name is very unusual for a tavern; this caught my attention and furthered my interest. It was only after I realised that the tavern takes its name from what occurred there many years ago… the murder of Lady Elizabeth Hatton.

Legend has it that Lady Elizabeth Hatton was dancing with a European Ambassador, they then danced out of the doors into the garden, leaving people gossiping, and they never came back into the tavern. ‘The next morning her body was found in the cobblestone courtyard – torn limb from limb, with her heart still pumping blood onto the cobblestones.’[1]

The story of Lady Elizabeth Hatton is most famously recognised in Dickens ‘Little Dorrit’, however before the publication of ‘Little Dorrit’, it was ‘best known for its appearance in R.H. Barham’s The Ingoldsby Legends, a collection of poems and stories first published in Bentley’s Miscellany beginning in 1837.’[2]

The different places that I visited such as No.43 Hatton garden, seemed completely ordinary, just a building amongst all of the others on the street. Who would have known all of the different events that have occurred in the past years? It was somewhat surprising and exhilarating to realise that the law is everywhere, it is a part of every place you see and everything you do. For example at No.43 Hatton garden – which used to be known as ‘Little Italy’, Italian immigrants had a chance to be educated. This would have been unusual, whereas now the Modern Slavery Act 2015 ensures that immigrants learn the English language.

As well as being given the opportunity to explore the area that I will be studying in for three years; I was also given the chance to connect with my tutorial group… which was very reassuring for a first day law student! However, what was most valuable was how the task furthered my ambition to become a part of the legal system. By the end of the task I realised that I had most definitely chosen the subject for me. This was especially due to the concept of justice. The murder of Lady Elizabeth Hatton was what really helped me establish this, because the concept of justice is completely missing in her case. The murder is simply labelled as a myth, when the account may actually be true and therefore no justice has been served.

Before this task, public law was the subject that I aspired to be a part of, now I am not as certain. This task really changed my views and has made me consider specialising in criminal law, which is much more promising to know that there are two specific subjects in the law that I enjoy to a high extent.

I have increased my knowledge of the buildings in London, connected with my tutorial group and had the chance to explore my options with my legal studies. The task really helped me enhance my knowledge of the law; it is one that I will never forget.

[1] http://la-scala.co.uk/local-history-charles-dickens-lady-hatton-ezp-15.html

[2] http://www.digplanet.com/wiki/Bleeding_Heart_Yard#In_literature

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