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Bloomsbury Project

Bloomsbury Streets, Squares, and Buildings

Gray’s Inn Estate

Estates in Bloomsbury

1 Duke of Bedford
2 City of London Corporation
3 Capper Mortimer
4 Fitzroy (Duke of Grafton)
5 Somers
6 Skinners' (Tonbridge)
7 Battle Bridge
8 Lucas
9 Harrison
10 Foundling Hospital
11 Rugby
12 Bedford Charity (Harpur)
13 Doughty
14 Gray's Inn
15 Bainbridge–Dyott (Rookeries)

Area between the Foundling and Harrison estates: Church land

Grey areas: fragmented ownership and haphazard development; already built up by 1800

About the Gray’s Inn Estate

Gray’s Inn is one of the four Inns of Court in London, which control admission to the Bar for lawyers in England and Wales

Its estate in the south-east corner of Bloomsbury is on the edge of the legal district of London and has its origins in the manor house of Purpoole (www.graysinn.info)

The Inn developed and prospered in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, not only as a place of training for lawyers, but also as a place of entertainment and celebration (www.graysinn.info)

It was a residential place of training akin to the colleges of Oxford and Cambridge, with a Hall, Chapel, Library, accommodation, and extensive gardens, all arranged around Squares

As an Inn of Court it was also extra-parochial, or outside the boundaries of local parishes, and exempt from their taxes

It continues to operate as a place of legal training and a base for barristers’ chambers

Raymond Buildings

It is in the south-east of Bloomsbury and is a terrace running south from King’s Road between Gray’s Inn Gardens and Jockey Fields

It was built in 1825

It had been part of the gardens of Gray’s Inn; the famous Lord Bacon’s Mount was about half-way down its site (Eliza Meteyard, The Hallowed Spots of Ancient London, 1862)

It was named after Sir Robert Raymond, former Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, although not erected until almost a century after his death (Christopher Hibbert, Ben Weinreb, John Keay, Julia Keay, and Matthew Weinreb, The London Encyclopaedia, revised edition, 2008)

It was intended mainly for lawyers of Gray’s Inn

In the nineteenth century it contained mainly chambers for solicitors and barristers of Gray’s Inn; originally it also seems to have incorporated the building now known as Atkin Building

No. 1 was the practice of classical architect James Knowles from about 1839 to 1869

Charles Dickens worked as a clerk for solicitors Ellis and Blackmore, who were based here in the 1840s, although the actual building he worked in may have been in Holborn Court (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography)

No. 2 housed the chambers of lawyer and naturalist William Broderip, who died there in 1859 (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography)

From about 1864 no. 1 housed the independent practice of architect Philip Webb, designer of the Red House in Bexleyheath for William Morris and former associate of his in The Firm (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography)

No. 6 was the home for many years until 1869 of the art collector John Parsons, who left much of his collection to what is now the V&A (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography)

The Hewlett family had a law practice at no. 2, which the author Maurice Hewlett joined in 1878 (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography)

It continues to be occupied mainly by lawyers

This page last modified 14 April, 2011 by Deborah Colville


Bloomsbury Project - University College London - Gower Street - London - WC1E 6BT - Telephone: +44 (0)20 7679 3134 - Copyright © 1999-2005 UCL

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