Walk Holborn on a misty, chilly evening and catch a glimpse of London's Victorian past. This center of the city's legal establishment still has many of the old buildings standing, and its dark and shady past is a perfect for two walking tours provided. The first tour is called "Legal and Illegal London" and the second, "Ghosts, Guinness, and Gaslight" is one of the most popular tourist walking tours in the city. The most famous landmark in Holborn is Old Bailey. The countries most serious legal cases are heard here, being the Central Criminal Court of London.
On part of the site was Newgate Prison where, until it was torn down, convicted criminals were beheaded or hanged in the street, replacing Tyburn Gallows at the Marble Arch as London's public execution place because of the high turn out for hangings and subsequent robberies! Authorities decided to carry out the punishments within the prison walls. You won't see any hangings today; the death penalties have been abolished since long ago, but feel free to watch the court proceedings from the visitor's gallery at Old Bailey. The judges still wear the traditional white wigs and carry posies as a ritual reminder that they were once used to disguise the smell of rotting corpses.