Standing on the highest eminence within the boundaries of the City of Hamilton, the Sessions House with its clock tower is the most conspicuous building on the city's skyline (although the Bermuda Cathedral's roof line and tower are higher).
The original building was a simple two-story edifice built about the year 1819. Through the years there have been many additions to the original building. The clock tower and Florentine façade were proposed in 1887 to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria, but work started late and the alterations were not completed until 1893.
A medallion of the Queen's head, done in terra cotta, can be seen under an arch on the southern side.
The Bermuda Jubilee Clock has four dials, each seven feet in diameter, cast in one piece. The hands are of copper, strengthened behind with brass. The dials are faced with opal glass and the hands and figures are painted black. The hours are struck on a bell weighing 1750 pounds and measuring four feet across the mouth. The hammer is cast iron and weighs 35 pounds. The wheels are gun metal. The 6-foot pendulum weighs 90 pounds. This clock, with its four faces illuminated by oil lamps, was put into operation for the first time on 31 December, 1891.
The public entrance to the ground floor of the Sessions House is from the eastern end of the building. The large chamber on the ground floor is currently home to Supreme Court Number One. The appointments of the room are simple in keeping with the atmosphere of dignity commonly associated with British Courts of Justice.
Public access to the upper storey is gained through the southeastern tower and via a handsome oak staircase. Inside the entrance, visitors are faced with two sculpted figures, carved by John Thomas, a Welsh stone mason, out of magnesium limestone in the 1840's. The sculptures were part of the exterior decoration of the Palace of Westminster and were a gift to Bermuda from the Houses of Parliament at Westminster.
The figure on the left depicts King William II holding in his hand a model of Westminster Hall and the one on the right is an unidentified companion figure which adjoined that of King John. The heraldic lion in the corner niche has the same origin.
At the top of the stairs, situated on the western wall is a portrait of Bermuda's first woman Parliamentarian, Mrs. Hilda Aitken, elected in 1948. The portrait was unveiled by the Rt. Hon. Baroness Blatch, Minister of State for Education in the House of Lords, as part of the commemorative celebrations the 50th anniversary of the passing of the Woman's Suffrage Act, 1944.
To the left is the main entrance to the large upper storey chamber which is home to the house of Assembly. The room, which was paneled in wood around 1890, is well-proportioned and of rectangular shape. Inside the main door is the public gallery, with seating for visitors on either side of the aisle. The front row on the right side is reserved for members of the media.