Photographing the Old Bailey
“Can you come to the Old Bailey and see the Sheriffs?” is the sort of text message that would strike terror into most peoples’ hearts, or at least make them wonder if there was an outstanding parking ticket they had forgotten to pay; but for Mike Williams
, it is a fairly typical message.For the last 3 years, Mike has been the personal photographer to the Lord Mayor of the City of London. Unlike the Mayor of London who serves a 4 year term, The Lord Mayor serves for just 1 year, starting in early November with the Lord Mayor's Show, and continues with numerous state, official and charitable events. The Lord Mayor spends almost 1/3rd of the year abroad, promoting GB plc as the premier financial services centre, gives over 800 speeches, receives over 40 Heads of State, foreign diplomats and foreign dignitaries and raises over £2million for the Lord Mayor's Appeal.
Assisting the Lord Mayor are 2 Sheriffs, at least one of whom will be an Alderman of a ward in the City of London. The title of Sheriff evolved during the Anglo-Saxon period of English history and today the role and responsibilities of the Sheriffs are varied. They officiate at the sessions at the Central Criminal Court, also known as the Old Bailey and look after the “comfort of Her Majesty's Judges.” They too serve for just one year, living at the Old Bailey in order to perform their duties.
The Sheriffs for 2017 to 2018 were Alderman Tim Hailes JP and Mr Neil Redcliffe JP. As is common, outgoing Sheriffs present a gift to the Old Bailey to commemorate their year in office. Having seen Mike’s pictures of previous Lord Mayors and Sheriffs, as well as having their own portrait session earlier in their year of office, they asked Mike if he could produce a series of photographs from the Old Bailey as well as the wider City of London. These would be hung in the long corridors that house the Jury Rooms and Judges Rooms.