Search

Courthouse Hotel Shoreditch is built from the Kray gangsters’ jail

PUBLISHED: 16:01 03 May 2017 | UPDATED: 16:01 03 May 2017

The entrance of the Courthouse Hotel. Photo: Jarek Klocinski

The entrance of the Courthouse Hotel. Photo: Jarek Klocinski

Archant

Emma Bartholomew travels down to Shoreditch for a night in an old magistrate’s court, where the Kray brothers were once held in the cells

The lobby at the Courthouse Hotel. Photo: Jarek Klocinski The lobby at the Courthouse Hotel. Photo: Jarek Klocinski

Judging by the grandeur of Old Street’s newest boutique hotel, it’s hard to imagine that at one time the East End’s most notorious gangsters – the Kray brothers – were banged up in the cells here.

The Courthouse Hotel Shoreditch has undergone a £40m transformation into five star luxury.

It wasn’t like this for Ronnie and Reggie when they were detained at Her Majesty’s Pleasure.

The Grade II listed building was the Old Street Magistrates’ Court from 1903 until 1996 and a police station until 2008.

The terrace bar at the Courthouse Hotel. Photo: Jarek Klocinski The terrace bar at the Courthouse Hotel. Photo: Jarek Klocinski

Back in the day there

was accommodation for a “married inspector” on the first floor of the eastern half of the building and rooms for 40 single men on the second and third floors.

The western half of the building meanwhile contained two courtrooms, with a grand public entrance in Old Street.

The only place the two buildings interconnected was through the ground-floor cells where 18 men and 11 women could be incarcerated.

The bowling alley at the Courthouse Hotel. Photo: Jarek Klocinski The bowling alley at the Courthouse Hotel. Photo: Jarek Klocinski

You can get inside five of these cells now, which have been converted into private drinking booths in which you sit behind the old menacing heavy wooden doors.

The inside has been decorated with graffiti-style paintings of fantasy inhabitants like the Krays, and strangely, Banksy.

They’re at the back of the former Courtroom Number 1 which is now a casual dining restaurant.

The place was pretty quiet when we went for dinner on New Year’s Day, but had apparently been heaving the night before when the uber trendy “secret bar” Nola hosted a cocktail soireé.

Tthe Kray twins Ronnie (left) and Reggie, Britain's most notorious gangsters who were imprisoned in 1969. Tthe Kray twins Ronnie (left) and Reggie, Britain's most notorious gangsters who were imprisoned in 1969.

Food is simple and hearty. I had a goats’ cheese salad while my friend chose smoked salmon, before we both tucked into fish and chips for mains, and a sticky toffee pudding for dessert.

Period features like the original courtroom wood panelling and restored stained glass windows add grandeur.

For a more fine dining experience, a new restaurant called Judge and Jury has just opened in the other courtroom, where breakfast is also served.

This is the courtroom where writer Joe Orton stood accused of stealing books from Islington library, and the manager points out a wooden cupboard where defendants were made to sit enclosed behind a door, before the judge entered.

An Xscape room at the Courthouse Hotel. Photo: Jarek Klocinski An Xscape room at the Courthouse Hotel. Photo: Jarek Klocinski

The Kray twins - Reggie and Ronnie - were also charged here with demanding “money with menaces”.

It’s a pretty impressive place to eat a meal, and in the calm of night you can appreciate its grandeur.

Food is top notch too. A melt-in-your-mouth fatty pork belly starter (£7) was complimented by kale which had been given a dry and crispy texture, similar to seaweed.

The steak tartare was quite pricey for a starter at £18, but out of this world and really quite an unusual variant with sesame oil and pumpkin seeds.

Mains include a fillet steak, priced at £28, was a good cut of meat, and came with the most amazing chips flavoured with truffles.

We stayed in an Xscape – one of the hotel’s 128 rooms. It has a huge top-end bathroom where you can watch TV in the bath with all the channels you could wish for.

The bed is huge too and so comfy I could have slept for a week.

There can’t be many hotels which can boast of having a subterranean bowling alley but there’s one here and it costs £45 an hour to hire.

There’s also a luxurious basement spa with sauna, steam room and an “endless” pool where it’s quite amusing to try and reach the end against the current – I couldn’t do it.

All too soon our stay sadly came to an all-too-sudden end - something Reggie and Ronnie didn’t have a problem with.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Hackney Gazette visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Hackney Gazette staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Hackney Gazette account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Hackney Stories

Yesterday, 20:30

Mauricio Pochettino’s team will face another away trip if they can progress past League One outfit Rochdale on Sunday

Yesterday, 17:00

National League: AFC Fylde 0 Leyton Orient 1

Yesterday, 15:00

A decision to prune back and eventually cut down two 250-year-old trees in Clissold Park has angered environmentalists.

Yesterday, 10:30

The O’s head coach Justin Edinburgh has plenty of options available to him ahead of facing the Coasters

Fri, 20:15

A 92-year-old woman is fighting for her life after being hit by a car in Stoke Newington Church Street early this morning.

Fri, 17:57

When Auro Foxcroft first walked into forgotten Art Deco gem the Savoy Cinema two years ago it was covered in pigeon poo, cobwebs and piles of junk.

Spurs are set to be without top goalscorer Harry Kane for Sunday’s match against Keith Hill’s League One strugglers

Fri, 15:00

Clapton assistant manager Wayne Seal wants his side to keep piling the pressure on the top four in the Essex Senior League.

PROMOTED CONTENT

To celebrate LGBT history month, Hackney resident Amanda talks about her journey to becoming a foster carer, with the council’s support and training.



Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read entertainment

Show Job Lists