Witness Bailey

Over the weekend, I had a chance to watch one of my favourite movies, Witness for the Prosecution.  Acting was certainly much different then but Agatha Christie’s story is just riveting.  And any movie with Charles Laughton is worth viewing.

The setting for the trial is the court at The Old Bailey in London.  With my new found explorations of Google Earth, I just had to check it out in 3D.

It was interesting watching the buildings draw themselves as the data came in.  One of the benefits of having slow internet access, I guess.

Now, I have no idea where in London The Old Bailey was or if it even existed.  It could have just been a popular name for books that I’ve read but sure enough, there was a location with that name.  Just to make sure that the results were real, I also did some searching for the courthouse.  I convinced myself that my research had yielded good results.

But, in the process, I found even more gold for a look into court trials from long ago.  Online, is a searchable collection of legal proceedings from 1674 to 1913.

All of this information has been digitized and placed in a database waiting for you to explore.  We’ve all seen those genetic testing services offered on television; could you imagine searching for your relatives or just your surname and seeing what turned up here?  Some of the reading isn’t for the faint of heart and, in particular, the descriptions of the forms of execution is likely to make your skin crawl.

Like a good snack, I couldn’t stop reading at one.  The Old English can be a challenge but the details are fascinating.  The older the case, the more you realize how much things have changed over the years.

There’s years of real life history there that Christie could certainly have turned into other fascinating plays.


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