Sunday, 24 February 2013

Architectural Quiz - the answer

A few more examples of the little buildings. They are all basically the same. Solid stone walls with a solid stone roof and a finial or weathercock sitting aloft.
Did you notice that they do not have windows apart from a very small grilled aperture in some of them. Most have a solid wooden door too. What does that make you think of?
Maybe they are pointing in the direction of security!!!
images via wikipedia
courtesy chemodan flickr
These little buildings date from the 18th and 19th century. They are village lock-ups which were built as a temporary overnight place for the detention of local rogues, miscreants, and drunkards until they could be removed to the nearest town and then brought before the magistrates court.
Three people got the answer correct:-
The Road to Parnassus (I had to look up hoosegows Jim, it is a new word to me)
and Marian
"R" got it right via Carolyn 
Well done - Marian also got my last quiz correct too.
Thank you to all who gave it a try - hope you enjoyed it.
650 years of the Magistracy 
Having just shown you the "Village lock-ups", it has reminded me of another, but this time contemporary, aspect of our justice system.
In my past I was a magistrate - Justice of the Peace (JP). I didn't know anyone else who was one, but after sitting in the back of the local Magistrates Court a few times I decided it was something that I would be interested in doing. Magistrates are non stipendiary, and in the days before I was appointed, the posts were often handed to Lady "whatnot" and her friend. Now the appointments are made, as they should be, on the basis of representing the whole community. After applying I was called for interview and questioned by five unknown, nameless people, in order to assess my suitability i.e think logically, weigh up arguments and reach a sound decision. An awareness of local issues and understanding of people and a sense of fairness - prejudices have no place in the law courts. Understand documents, follow evidence and communicate effectively. Various 'cases' were discussed to ascertain my responses, views, and thinking. Today, I believe it is also necessary to sit a written test.
A Magistrates Court - Bedford
Once appointed by the Lord Chancellor and having sworn the Judicial Oath in the Crown Court, there was a substantial amount of training to get through, along with visits to prisons - open and high security - and Youth Detention Units. It is also necessary to sit with the Judge at the Crown Court from time to time.
Crown Court - Worcester
Each time that you attend court it is an unknown quantity. You never know what you may be faced with. 97% of all cases initially come before the magistrates which could range from murder, drunk and disorderly, driving offences to theft. The Bench consists of three magistrates, one of which is trained to act as a chairperson. The magistrates are advised on matters of law by legally qualified clerks, called Justice's Clerks.  To have a conviction there has to be  a unanimous decision. In every case that I ever sat all three magistrates were in agreement except for one occasion. I did not agree with my colleagues but the defendant was convicted because I was in the minority. The defendant appealed against the sentence which was then taken to the Crown Court. I was called by the Justice's Clerk to his office along with the other two magistrates to write out a case stated for the presiding Judge in the Appeal. As it happens, the Clerk had realised from comments I had made in the Magistrates Retiring Room when seeking legal advice, that I had been in disagreement with my colleagues. He therefore told me that I would not have to submit a case stated and I could leave without having to support the decision that the Bench had made. I returned home feeling very relieved. I should perhaps clarify that a case stated is a procedure by which the notes taken at the original trial are produced for the judge to show the structured decision making used by the magistrates in reaching their verdict. The judge will then determine whether or not the law was correctly applied.
The very first time I gave a custodial sentence was a salutary experience. It is slightly unsettling to think that the person is going straight off in a police van to prison; there is no popping back home quickly to collect your toothbrush and a change of clothes!!! Magistrates can give custodial sentences up to 6 months or up to 12 months for more than one crime.
Apart from the seriousness of the business there are also many lighthearted and amusing moments. One colleague told me that she and her fellow magistrates were visiting a Young Offenders Institution. The magistrates were ushered into a waiting room which began to fill up with visiting parents of the young offenders. Those in charge seemed to have forgotten about the magistrates and the room became more and more crowded. One of the magistrates started to become impatient with the delay because he had another appointment to attend. He was a big man, an Opera Singer, and suddenly exclaimed in a loud voice to his colleagues that he really could not continue to hang around waiting as he had the Crucifixion to do that evening. There was a stunned silence in the waiting room as the parents looked around anxiously at one another.
Another apocryphal story is the one concerning the defendant who kept calling the chairperson of the bench "your honour". In the end the exasperated magistrate said "you do not honour me, you worship me".
For those that do not know - Judges are referred to as your honour, and magistrates your worship.
To be a JP it is necessary to close the court door firmly behind you each time you leave and not take any of the proceedings or business home with you.
Once you have been appointed as a Justice of the Peace you retain the title for life, unless you commit a misdemeanour, when it is removed by the Lord Chancellor.
all images courtesy wikipedia

61 comments:

  1. I apologise to Tina @ Girl-Meets-Globe who commented.................

    "I will definitely be looking for these! Is there a proper name for these little buildings?"

    I accidentally lost your comment - the village lock-up is the only name that these little buildings are known by.

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  2. As always such an interesting post - these buildings look impossible to get out of! We did think of hiring a village lock up for a week near Bath that had been converted.
    It must have been difficult to leave the work behind you at the door being a JP. How many years did you do it for? I have known to other JP's - one a friend of my parents and the other a senior manager, but they had never spoke about it much detail.
    Sarah x

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    1. That would have been interesting Sarah - spending the night in a lock-up. I expect it has been cleverly converted, it is surprising what you can do with small spaces today. Did you watch the programme "George Clark's Amazing Places" where wonderful little homes were created out of tiny spaces.
      I was an active JP for 10 years, but gave up when we moved to the Cotswolds, otherwise I would have continued. It is very interesting for lay people to go and sit in the back of a court - be it the Magistrates' Court or the Crown Court. I do not know whether or not you have ever done it, but you might find it interesting to give it a try sometime. Anyone can attend court as an onlooker - sometimes it can be a revelation.

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  3. Very, very interesting! Thank you for your work, I'm learning a lot and I'm enjoying a lot your blog, although I'm Spanish and my skills of your language are not what I would like.
    Thanks again and hugs from Spain

    Marina

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    1. Dear Marina - if my Spanish was half as good as your English I would be delighted.
      I am pleased that you enjoyed the post. It ended up being a bit long winded I am afraid. I had intended to post the two issues separately but pressed publish by mistake. Thank you for your lovely comment.

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  4. What a surprise you are Rosemary! A magistrate and a JP, which must have been a very interesting time in your life. My HB is a JP here in Austalia, however I think the duties must be defined differently. He is not a magistrate and does not sit in courts, but does certification of documents where and when required. The neighbours come to us for this service, but I have to go to another place because he cannot legally certify things for me! The little lock-up buildings are so well-made that it never occurred to me to connect them with the little wooden lock-ups I grew up knowing in the Australian country towns. Thank you for a great post.

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    1. Dear Patricia - the terms magistrate and Justice of the Peace (JP) mean the same thing in England. JP in Australia seems to have a different connotation. A JP in this country can also certified official documents.
      The little village lock-ups are now of historical and architectural interest being listed and graded accordingly.
      Glad that you enjoyed the post.

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  5. Great to know the answer. I did think about a little jail house.. the bared little window was strange.. but then I thought them too small.. Learning something new all the time.
    What an interesting life you have led Rosemary.
    I somehow thought that you would be a lawyer or an architect..):
    I wasn't far off.
    I dont know much at all about the legal system in UK. but reading this post makes me want to find out more.
    love the quiz..
    wishing you a wonderful Sunday
    val.xx

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    1. Dear Val - Magistrates do not have to be legally qualified - anyone can put themselves forward. There is training before an appointed magistrate sits in court but then they are allocated a mentor for the first year or so who can help them by explaining matters that crop up. This normally takes about 18 months, they are then appraised by other magistrates who are trained to do this. You are expected to keep your knowledge up to date and attend on-going training sessions. When sitting in court there is always a legally qualified clerk, called the Justice's Clerk sitting below the magistrates. When the magistrates retire from the court to discuss the case they will, if necessary, call the clerk to their room to seek advise on points of law.
      Glad that you enjoyed the quiz, I will have to get my thinking cap on again.

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  6. Hello Rosemary, I probably should have guessed wrong--I don't want people to get the wrong idea about any familiarity with prison architecture and nomenclature.

    How interesting that you were a JP. Most of what I know about British magistrates comes from P.G. Wodehouse stories. I hope you didn't let anyone get away with lifting policemen's helmets. The court buildings you show are also quite attractive--one wonders whether the criminals appreciated the beauty of the courts and the quaint charm of their lock-ups.
    --Road to Parnassus

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    1. Hello Jim - I was impressed that you got it correct, you are one of only three, and one of those was my brother (I would expect him to know).
      Some of the court buildings were very attractive reflecting the particular era that they were built. Many, many of them have now been closed, in fact three of the ones I attended are no longer used - all to do with centralisation. I sat is an Arts and Craft style one, one built during the Garden City movement and another tiny little Victorian courthouse attached to a Police Station.

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  7. Hello, Rosemary ! Thank you so much for following "The Silver Bunny" and sending me a kind message. I am putting your beautiful blog on my sidebar right now. Best regards from France.

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    1. Welcome and I am happy to meet you.
      My eldest son and his family lived for 5 years in Croissy sur Seine so I shall look forward to hopefully seeing little bits of Paris on your blog.

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  8. Dear Rosemary, No wonder you were appointed a JP. You are intelligent and have a sense of right and wrong. That becomes very clear after only reading a few of your posts.
    I was appointed a Juror in a Federal Case. I disagreed with one very important part. I tried to convince the rest of the Jurors but couldn't. I agreed to agree with the rest of the Jurors so that the trial would not be thrown out of court. The defendant was found guilty on all other 9 counts. So justice was done after all.

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    1. Dear Gina - I was called for jury service just as we were leaving our old home, and because of this I had to decline. I would have liked to do it. In the case where you were a juror, as long as you felt justice was done at the end, then the matter was resolved satisfactorily.
      In the case where I was partially involved in an appeal I never knew the outcome. It all happened at the time when I was moving away to live here. The person involved had a strong conviction of his innocence to take the case to appeal, which is a very lengthy and costly and business, not to be undertaken lightly.

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  9. Dear Rosemary , I think that I was near closed the answer .. I said that at this place stayed people to protect themselves from the bad , I meant the weather , but these places are to keep the bad people from others !When I was working , every start of the new year , I prepared a list with the names of government officials of my department to present at the trials. The first name was always mine !! When we went to the court ,they choose eight officials to judge in addition to the 3 judges! The cases were usually women rapes and they avoided to choose women ! So , I never stayed at this place !Every time I was nervous but I was relieved when I left and was coming to my normal job.

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    1. Your legal system is obviously quite different from ours - the system you mention where women were dismissed and not allowed to be involved in rape cases would be regarded as sexual discrimination in our country.
      Engaging in the justice system can be very intimidating, but it is a very important part of our obligation to society in order that it can function properly.

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  10. Great post, Rosemary! Such fascinating information. You must see some really interesting and strange things as a JP. Love the amusing stories at the end!

    I love the little buildings, but hadn't a clue as to what they were used for. I imagined houses for garden gnomes, but they use is much more sinister.

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    1. Dear Marie - they are now listed as of historical architectural interest.
      I ended up doing two posts by mistake as I accidentally pressed publish - hence the one rather long winded post.
      I obviously know lots of stories, if not from my experience, then from the experience of others. A sense of humour can be quite important at times.

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  11. Oh darn - I have been out of action for a few days and so missed this quiz - and I knew the answer! This makes me sound like the children at school. After you tell them the answer to something they clearly didn't know they always say 'I knew that'...

    I have one cousin who is a magistrate and another a judge. My darling but somewhat imperious Grandmother when alive, would often buttonhole them to ask when they were going to reintroduce hanging!
    And after reading of some murder or other she would announce that she was going to write to X or to Y (or to both) immediately and ask that they get a move on sort things out.
    I know those letters (often couched in a 'mother knows best' way) used to cause them and their colleagues great amusement...

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    1. Love the sound of your imperious Grandmother Kirk - they don't make them like that anymore. She was probably a bit like Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest, but thank goodness she did not become a magistrate herself.
      I really would have expected you to get the quiz right if you had not been out of action - sorry you have not been very good again. You really must take more vitamin C!!!

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  12. Gosh, Rosemary, it really was the internet again that gave me the right answer I have to admit, I'm not at all that much of a connoisseur when it comes to typical Englisch architecture. I've never ever been in Great-Britain, or does one say the United Kingdom, or England, or... that is so hard sometimes because I remember years ago, talking to a tourist in Ypres, I asked him, are you from England, and my, did he tell me, he was Welsh!!!! From that moment on I knew I couldn't just ask that anymore, but I still wonder what would be the correct, not-anyone-offending thing to ask; 'are you from the UK?' would probably be best...

    About your former job Rosemary, I have to say, respect, it must not be easy to, as you say, close the door behind you and leave what you deal with there to return home. I don't know if I could do it. And... I probably know more about the English judicial system now than I do about the Belgian. All I know is there are judges and different courts, and lawyers of course, but that's about it, you see, not really into those things ;-)

    Bye, have a pretty week, it's been snowing here all day, and this morning everything was covered in white. Hope you don't get any snow, as I know you've already said your goodbyes to snow for now;-)

    Marian

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    1. Dear Marian - I did suspect that was the case - you were such an expert on all of the details regarding the lock-ups. However, what a magic finger you have got when it comes to finding the answers to my quiz - others look but do not find, and you get the answer almost straight away. I do not think I can compete with you.
      I did have a laugh when you said that you now know more about the English judicial system than you do about the Belgium one.
      No, I beg of you, please do not send the snow over here. We had it for those 5 days in January and then it disappeared as quickly as it came, and I definitely do not want it back. It is jolly cold here though.

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  13. Hello dear Rosemary!

    Sorry I missed you quiz (There are times where there is pretty busy at Ås, and although it's good busy and not bad busy, it leaves me very little time for wanderings in the blogland...)
    but I would never have guest anyway since I have never seen those buildings before. Too cute to be what they were! I enjoyed very much your stories about your time as a magistrate. How interesting! ...and what a difficult task
    to take!

    Wishing you an enjoyable Sunday evening : )
    lots of love

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    1. Dear Demie - I am so pleased to hear from you, I always miss you when you a busy. Life can be very hectic when you have two small children dependant on you - you will have plenty of time to wander in blogland when they are older.
      Being a magistrate was an interesting period in my life, and as the position is part time it did not interfere too much with other things that I was involved with.

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  14. Dear Rosemary - It seems strange to say so of lock-ups, but each of these little buildings has great charm. You experiences as a JP are very interesting, and it's interesting that one keeps the title for life.

    Later today I'll be dining with a retired lawyer who was known for his humor in court, as you say, it was an important asset to his career.

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    1. Dear Mark - the buildings are now listed and graded by English Heritage to protect them forever.
      Yes, it is very important to have a sense of humour where court affairs are concerned. Some of the barristers and solicitors had a finely honed wit which was not necessarily obvious to their clients. Sometimes it was difficult to keep a straight face, but very important to do so to maintain the decorum of the court.

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  15. Love those little lock-ups Rosemary and I definitely got it wrong. Thanks for the history of your life as a JP, most interesting. The things we learn in Blogland never ceases to amaze me. I love it.
    Patricia x

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    1. Dear Patricia - I do not have any friends in the so called outside world who blog. If people do find out, they say "you are the first person I have met with a blog" or else they say that they know nothing about them.
      In blogland I am always coming across things, places and ideas that I have never heard of before, and that to me is one of the joys of being able to read other people's posts, and of course all of the wonderful friends and contacts made.

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  16. I know all about JP's as I used to be a legal advisor many years ago before becoming a Defence Solicitor. In those days we were called court clerks and our roles were less intrusive. I once remember a chairman sentencing a jockey for driving with excess alcohol saying that he would be disqualified from riding (meant to be driving) for 12 months! This was after she'd asked him to stand up before realizing he was standing! I also remember a youth not turning up at court but his mother did to explain why he wasn't at court - he'd sat on a marshmallow and ruined his trousers - the magistrates and I as a clerk had great difficulty in keeping a straight face. They didn't issue a warrant for his arrest though just told his mum to bring him the following week in a cleaned pair!
    June

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    1. Many are the courthouse tales, sometimes a little humour helps to keep things in perspective. It is interesting to learn a little more about you, you are not just a good photographer then?

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  17. What I wouldn't give to see these in person someday :)

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  18. I should have known that - there was one in Lingfield, Surrey, where I grew up although I think it was larger.

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    1. Dear Susan - I have added a photo of the little lock-up at Lingfield for you to see.

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  19. Dear Rosemary,very interesting post!I couldn't guessed,because i saw these little buildings in your post.Thank you for sharing these historical informations!
    Have a wonderful week!
    Dimi..

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    1. Dear Dimi - thanks for your comments, and pleased that you enjoyed seeing the little village lock-ups. Enjoy your week.

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  20. I think your blog has an educational effect on me, I'm learning so many things...
    You surprise us!!!
    Have a great week Rosemary and thanks!

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    1. Dear Olympia - the joy of blogland is, I think, that we all bring our own thoughts, happenings and experiences to our posts. Sometimes our blogs seem to take control and we end up expressing or writing things that we never intended to do. That is what happened with this post. The little lock-ups and their history took me back along another route that I used to walk.

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  21. Interesting tale you have told there Rosemary.
    Lock ups, well how interesting. Up in the northern part of Australia we have Boab Trees, and these were hollowed out along the way to house the prisoners for the night :)

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    1. Thanks, I am always interested to find out something new, and I had certainly never heard about the Boab Trees being used in that way. Perhaps it could make a post for you to do?

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  22. That must have been a challenging occupation and a great responsibility, Rosemary. Thank you for this introduction to the work of a magistrate - very interesting for someone who has had absolutely no contact with any kind of court in her whole life.

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    1. I am pleased that you were interested to have a little insight into the world of the courts. Anybody can visit a magistrates' court or a crown court, sit in the public gallery and watch the proceedings. I know that they do have school visits now to the magistrates' courts, not when they are in session of course, and that they arrange mock trials for the youngsters to participate in. This I feel is a good thing.

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  23. Hi rosemary, I have nominated you for my Liebster award because I love your blog. You have others I know, but if you want pop over to my site to see the details.

    Jean x

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    1. Dear Jean - I hope you will understand if I accept the award with my heart but not in reality. I have in fact received a Liebster award before, I understand that you can only accept it once.
      I really appreciate the fact that you said you love my blog, that is more than a reward in itself♥

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  24. Dear Rosemary,

    Your posts are like lectures. I enjoy reading them very much! Never heard of the lock up buildings before. I don't think we have them in Holland.

    The fact that you once were a magistrate put a smile on my face. Somehow I thought you were a teacher!

    Happy new week,

    Madelief x

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    1. Dear Madelief - whilst writing about the little lock-ups it led me into thinking about a previous part of my life. I find that with blogging, you write about one thing and it then triggers something else.
      Because many of the lock-ups were built around 1750 they have mostly been destroyed. They now have listed building status in order to preserve them. The little lock-ups stopped being used around 1840.

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  25. I can easily see why you were accepted for this serious job. Your posts reflect your well-researched, well-explained balanced views, something that would be sought after in a magistrate. The little building must have been a cold, dark, claustrophobic experience for the prisoner-in-waiting, but maybe that's exactly what the intent was.

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    1. Dear Rosemary - In the 1750s to be flung into a small dark, cold, damp cell must have been terrible. However, I think that life in general then was pretty rough for everybody, apart from the gentry.
      I had not intended to write such a long epistle, but doing a post on the village lock-ups led me astray and I began thinking about my past. I then accidentally pressed publish on the magistrate post instead of save, and the rest is history.

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  26. There is always something fascinating to read on your blog, Rosemary - thank you! I was intrigued to learn a bit more about your past life too :-)

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    1. That is so kind of you to say Nat - It was interesting how few people actually knew about these little lock-ups. Of those who got it right, one discovered the answer on Google - good old internet, one was an American in Taiwan - very impressed by him and the other was my brother - well I would expect him to know wouldn't I?

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  27. Wonderful old buildings and interesting information. Justice of the Peace is much less of a formal role in our country.

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    1. Someone else mentioned that the JP's role in Australia involves certifying documents only. It is important that these historical little buildings are now listed with English Heritage.

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  28. This was such a fascinating post Rosemary..............and of course much of the British law system is followed here in the US. I remember from childhood a close family friend who was a JP in Torquay.......he was a lovely man but never shared his interesting life in the court system. As you said, the door was closed behind him always.
    The closest I've been to courthouse was a few years back (not long after I became a naturalized citizen) when I was called to sit on the Grand Jury for 1 year's service - had to report monthly for a cloistered day with my group to determine whether cases should be heard. It was a real eye-opener into the jury system and a magnificent education.

    Thanks for sharing your interesting story with us.
    Mary

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    1. That must have been very interesting for you Mary. It is surprising how many people have never stepped into a court, and most of the population rarely get called up to do jury work. In this country and I assume it must apply in US too, anybody can sit in the public gallery of the magistrates' court and the crown court, and it is really worth doing at least once in your lifetime.

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  29. I thought they were lock-ups but couldn't believe how pretty they are. Up here in Yorkshire they are much more severe & plain.

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    1. Dear Nilly - you are right, and they do actually look like little jails. I wonder why that is? some of them around the country are extraordinary little buildings with quite a lot of fancy architectural detail on them.

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  30. Hello Rosemary,
    You being a magistrate would not have been my first guess at a job you once held. A fashion model would have been my first guess, based on that beautiful face in the little icon. Then again perhaps you were. Being new to your blog, I have not read all the way back and I have yet to to discover many interesting things about you. Very much enjoyed what I read and seen so far.
    Anyes
    xx

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    1. Hello Anyes - My little icon is many years out of date as you have probably guessed - glad you have enjoyed reading backwards, and hope you will visit again soon.

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“You can't stay in your corner of the forest waiting for others to come to you - you have to go to them too.”
― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh