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image SM 51/3/60

Reference number

SM 51/3/60


Design for the staircases to the galleries (as executed)


Plan No 1


bar scale of 1/5 inch to 1 foot


as above, labelled (in Soane's hand): In this plan the woolsacks &c are / removed nearer the Throne ^three feet and an / additional seat on the side opposite / the Chimney side, Throne, 2.0, Lord Chancellor, Staircase to Gallery (4 times), Woolsack (twice), A (13 times), Table, 3.3 (twice), Platform Seat for Witnesses raised ab. 1'0'', Council Witnesses / & / for 40 persons, (pencil) Seat for Short hand writer / ?? ????? Seat by the ???, Public (twice), 7.0, Passage, 188 Seats / 102 Galleries / 290 Seats excl[usive] / of the Wool / sacks, Between the / Staircases lead[in]g / into the Galleries / & the wall a / small vacuity for / Ventilation / Galleries supported / by Iron Pillars / & arch to connect / the two Staircases / together / Ironwork of the Galleries / hung with / crimson Cloth, A &c all these / seats remain / as they now are; benches labelled (in pencil): 5 (4 times), 12 (3 times), 11, 7 (10 times), 8 (twice), 9 (4 times)

Signed and dated

  • 25 July 1820
    John Soane Arch / 25th July 1820

Medium and dimensions

Pen, pencil, sepia and pink washes, pricked for transfer with double ruled and sepia wash border on wove paper (483 x 308)


Charles Edward Papendiek (1801 - 1835)
Pupil January 1818 - March 1824.


SM 51/3/60, labelled 'Plan No 1', is one of two designs for the staircases that provide access to the new galleries above the benches. Soane gives instructions to leave a gap between the staircases and the walls to help with ventilation. As a note at the top of the drawing explains, the woolsacks and the table are to be moved 3 feet nearer to the throne. The numbers on the benches represent the number of people that can be seated by each bench and the calculations at the edge of the drawing give the total capacity of the chamber (excluding the woolsacks) - that is, 188 on the benches and 102 in the galleries or 290 seats in total. The galleries are to be supported on iron columns and hung with crimson cloths, according to Soane's instructions.

In January 1800 there were 267 peers. By February 1825 this number had risen to 278. 256 people (peers, lawyers etc.) attended the first day of the trial (there were 88 non-attendees). This fell to an average of 231 over the succeeding days. Average attendance in the House of Lords at this time was around 50.



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Sir John Soane's collection includes some 30,000 architectural, design and topographical drawings which is a very important resource for scholars worldwide. His was the first architect’s collection to attempt to preserve the best in design for the architectural profession in the future, and it did so by assembling as exemplars surviving drawings by great Renaissance masters and by the leading architects in Britain in the 17th and 18th centuries and his near contemporaries such as Sir William Chambers, Robert Adam and George Dance the Younger. These drawings sit side by side with 9,000 drawings in Soane’s own hand or those of the pupils in his office, covering his early work as a student, his time in Italy and the drawings produced in the course of his architectural practice from 1780 until the 1830s.

Browse (via the vertical menu to the left) and search results for Drawings include a mixture of Concise catalogue records – drawn from an outline list of the collection – and fuller records where drawings have been catalogued in more detail (an ongoing process).