‘Haunted’ former court and Masonic lodge in Clerkenwell set for rooftop swimming pool

The Old Middlesex Sessions house in Clerkenwell Green

The Old Middlesex Sessions house in Clerkenwell Green - Credit: Archant

A reputedly haunted old court where convicts were sent to their deaths is to be re-developed with shops, restaurants and a rooftop swimming pool.

The plan for the Old Middlesex Sessions House, in Clerkewell Green, a former Masonic Lodge, is set to go before an Islington Council planning committee in the coming weeks - the deadline for people to comment on the application passed last Thursday.

The building belonged to the Freemasons from 1979 until last year, prior to which it had a long and gruesome history as a courthouse.

Built in 1780, it used to have a whipping post outside for corporal punishment.

Convicts were led from the courthouse through tunnels to Newgate Prison, and from there sent to Australia

Meanwhile prisoners who were to be executed were taken round the corner to the Hangman’s Cottage in Sans Walk where portable gallows were routinely employed.

Legend has it that the ghost of a woman haunts the building – sitting on the main stairs, crying and waiting for a man who was presumably killed or sent to a penal colony.

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The Old Middlesex Sessions House finally ceased to be a court of law in 1921.