The Garden Guide

Book: London and Its Environs, 1927
Chapter: 21 The Inns of Court and Legal London

Public Record Office

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Higher up, on the right, is the Public Record Office, a large edifice in the Tudor style, the east part (abutting on Fetter Lane) erected by Sir J. Pennethorne in 1851-66, the west part (towards Chancery Lane) added by Sir John Taylor in 1891-96. The latter covers the site of the old Court of the Master of the Rolls and the Rolls Chapel. On the inner side of the main archway from Chancery Lane are statues of Henry III. and Edward III.; the former king founded on this site (1232) the �Domus Conversorum� or �House for Converted Jews,� and the latter assigned in 1377 the house and chapel to the Master of the Rolls. Against the south-east wall of the new building is part of an arch from the old chapel (13th century). The Public Record Office is the chief depository of the state-papers, records, and archives of England, which are preserved in fire-proof chambers constructed of iron, slate, and brick. The head of the office is the Master of the Rolls, the third member of the Supreme Court of Judicature, who was also, until the appointment of Sir George Jessel (the first Jewish Master) in 1873, the Head of the House for Converted Jews. The documents now preserved here were collected from the Tower, the State Paper Office, the Chapter House and Chamber of the Pyx at Westminster Abbey, the Rolls Chapel, and many other repositories. The Record Office publishes Reports, Lists and Indexes, and Calendars. The Office is open from 10-4.30 (10-2 on Saturday), during which time the public is admitted to the Search Rooms, where any record, not being a record of a government department, may be inspected for a small fee. Persons engaged in historical or literary research may, however, obtain �students� tickets,� which give them free access to all documents prior to 1801. Foreign students require an introduction from their embassies. Photographic copies of records may be obtained from Messrs. Monger & Marchant, 8 Bream's Buildings.