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  • image Image 1 for SM 37/1/23
  • image Image 2 for SM 37/1/23
  • image Image 1 for SM 37/1/23
  • image Image 2 for SM 37/1/23

Reference number

SM 37/1/23


[141] Duplicate drawing, New Law Courts, after 1820


Plan of Westminster Hall and proposed New Law Courts, at main (first) floor level, retaining the existing Courts of Exchequer and Common Pleas, unexecuted


bar scale of 1/20 inch to 1 foot


(pencil) No 26

Signed and dated

  • c 1820 - 1821
    The proposal predates the demolition of the easternmost bay of the Court of Exchequer which was immediately adjacent to the north-west tower of Westminster Hall.

Medium and dimensions

Pencil, wash, pen, pricked for transfer on laid paper (576 x 353)


Soane Office, draughtsman


Preliminary plans and elevations for a house with a bay articulated with a giant order (pencil and pen, in Soane's hand)


This proposal would see the demolition all structures adjoining the Court of Requests (then the House of Lords) and Westminster Hall, excepting the Court of Common Pleas, the Court of Exchequer and the Exchequer Chamber. The new buildings, indicated without wash, are orientated parallel to the axis of the retained medieval buildings, whilst the existing pavements of St Margaret's Street, Old Palace Yard and Henry VII’s Chapel are shown. The buildings immediately to the south of Westminster Hall echo the disposition of The Stone Building, with corner towers joined by wings to a central block with a projecting façade. The Hall’s west wall is breached by two new portals, positioned in alternating bays and echoing the existing entrance to the Court of Common Pleas; the portal for the northernmost bay is blind. The southernmost bay is screened with a central staircase; an arrangement echoing Kent’s screens to the Courts of King’s Bench and Chancery, though without the latter's polygonal footprint. The Court of Exchequer is terminated to the west by a new chamber, whose fenestration and polygonal corner turrets suggest a stylistic affinity with the existing Tudor building. Whether Soane intended to retain the turret at the Exchequer's north-west corner is unclear; it is shaded only along its perimeter. The footprint of the demolished Augmentations offices is also shown.

*[More likely an office copy relating to William Kent's Law Courts scheme (c1740-1748) given loggia along west side of Court of Requests) or John Vardy's scheme for The Stone Building (c1751).



Digitisation of the Drawings Collection has been made possible through the generosity of the Leon Levy Foundation. This catalogue of Soane’s designs for the New Law Courts was generously funded by The Worshipful Company of Mercers and The Pilgrim Trust.

If you have any further information about this object, please contact us: drawings@soane.org.uk

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).