From the Freeman, 22 January 1839:

“John Finn, Henrietta-street, applied for a license for the coffee-room of the Four Courts. Mr Walsh opposed the application, on the part of the Vintners’ Society, and dwelt on the impropriety of such an establishment in the courts.

Mr Curran replied in favour of the application, and said that as it was always in the power of the benchers to move their tenant, in case he abused their trust, there could be no danger of any impropriety being carried on by Mr Finn. It was idle to think that witnesses or such persons could get whiskey in the coffee-room, as it was a rule no layman should be allowed to enter it.

The Recorder could not think of granting a license in the circumstances. Mr Curran said, if they were allowed to withdraw the application, they would, at the next session, have the certificates of the judges and law officers in their favour.

The case was then withdrawn.”

The coffee-room the subject of this application was the one in the new Solicitors’ Building (the current Law Library). The previous coffee-room had been in the main Four Courts building.

The applicant, Mr Finn, was also in charge of the catering at King’s Inns, where his father William had been the first butler. Sadly, Mr Finn became insolvent some years later. One hopes this was not due to unpaid bills by members of the legal profession. Maybe it was simply that he spent too much on the fit-out for the new coffee-room?

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