Garrow's Law

Discover the locations of Garrow's Law in Edinburgh's Old Town.

Garrows Law

Garrow’s Law is a legal drama inspired by the life of pioneering 18th century barrister William Garrow, played by Andrew Buchan, whose determination to take on controversial and challenging cases helped to liberalise the legal system. He introduced the phrase ‘innocent until proven guilty’, becoming known for his impact on the rules of evidence.

Between 2009 and 2011, the BBC aired three series of the drama, co-created by Tony Marchant (The Secret Agent, Public Enemies), with audiences of more than four million viewers. Edinburgh University’s Old College played the Old Bailey, South Bridge vaults played the dreadful POW prison, and Bakehouse Close was transformed into the marketplace.

About Garrow's Law Edinburgh film locations

Garrows Law Location Collage

Old College is part of the University of Edinburgh, built at the end of the 18th century to a design originally by Robert Adam, but work halted upon his sudden death, until William Playfair was appointed to complete the project in 1817. The quadrangle of Playfair’s design was never completed at the time that Old College was constructed, until 2010 when the final part of Playfair’s quadrangle was put into action, coinciding with the second series of Garrow’s Law.

South Bridge Vaults are a series of windowless chambers formed in the arches of the South Bridge. Originally used to house taverns, cobblers and tradespeople, the spaces were also used to store illicit material, and later, the very poorest of Edinburgh’s citizens. The chambers used in Garrow’s Law can be visited as part of the underground ghost tours by Auld Reekie Tours, while other South Bridge chambers are accessed by Mercat Tours.

Bakehouse Close is one of Old Town’s best-preserved medieval closes. Located off the Royal Mile, opposite Canongate Kirk, the close leads to Holyrood Road. In the 16th century, Huntly House was formed by joining three houses surrounding the close in to one to provide quarters for the bakers, metalsmiths and household staff to James VI and Charles I.

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