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  • image SM 53/1/13

Reference number

SM 53/1/13


[147] Presentation drawing, New Law Courts, July 1821


Plan of the main (ground) floor of the New Law Courts, to the west side of Westminster Hall, incorporating The Stone Building, with a new flanking range along St Margaret's Street, and the Court of Exchequer, with the polygonal stair turret giving access to New Palace Yard, not as executed


bar scale of 1/10 inch to 1 foot


A Design for the New Courts at Westminster / Scale of Feet / No. 13. / Westminster Hall. / Entrance into the / Court of King's Bench. / Entrance into the / Court of Common Pleas. / Entrance into the / Vice-Chancellor's Court. / Entrance into the / Court of Chancery. / Corridor (x 2) / Passage to the House of Lords and the House of Commons. / The Court of Exchequer. / Tribunal. (x 5) / The Court of Equity / Lobby. (x 3) / Water / Closet (x 10) / Area. (x 5) / Attendants on / the Lord Chief / Baron. / Court Keeper. / The Lord Chief Baron's / Retiring Room. / Staircase. (x 4) / Attendants on / The Lord Chief / Justice. / Upper part of / the Hall. / Entrance into the / Court of Exchequer &c: / Corridor leading into Westminster Hall / Iron Railing. / The Court of King's Bench. / Lord Chief Justice's / Retiring Room / Closet (x 2) / The Bail Court. / The Court of Common Pleas. / Judges Retiring Room. / Court of Common Pleas. / Entrance Hall / & / Staircase. / Entracne into the / Court of King's Bench. / Cusots Brevium / The Vice-Chancellor's Court. / Attendants / on the / Vice-Chancellor. / The Vice-Chancellor's / Retiring Room. / The Great Corridor / Entrance Hall. (x 2) / Entrance into the Court of Common Pleas / and into Vice-Chancellor's Court. / The High Court of Chancery. / Attendants / on the / Lord Chancellor. / The Lord Chancellor's / Retiring Room. / Entrance into the / High Court of Chancery. / 27 July 1821. / This plan submitted to a Board of Treasury / (with Col[onel]. Stephenson) - app[rove]d. - & ordered to be /submitted to the different Judges. / (pencil) Court / Keeper / Grand Inquest Jury / Waiting Room (x 2) / Suppose the Courts to be / 2. 11 above the floor of / West[minster] Hall.

Signed and dated

  • 01/07/1821 - 30/07/1821
    June 1821

Medium and dimensions

Pencil, wash, coloured washes of yellow, red, blue and brown, pen, within hextupal ruled washed border, pricked for transfer on wove paper (924 x 616)


Sir John Soane RA (1753 - 1837), architect
This drawing is annotated in Soane's hand.
Soane Office, draughtsman


J Whatman / 1820


A worked up version of the scheme shown in SM 53/1/10. The corse of the existing Court of Exchequer is retained, but substantially adapted and its western end here accommodates the Court of Equity. Only the Courts of King's Bench and Chancery are shown with their furnishings (in pencil); their respective layouts clearly following the existing provisions for these Courts in Westminster Hall (see SM 53/1/9).

The inner core of the New Law Courts is ringed by a three-limb circulation corridor (labelled The Great Corridor), with a grand entrance leading from the central block of The Stone Building into the Vice-Chancellor's Retiring Room by way of a convex flight of steps leading into an alcove. However, the shift in alignement between the existing ranges of The Stone Building and Soane's New Law Courts is not as well handled here as it would be in later schemes (see 53/1/27). The annotation recording this drawing's presentation to the Treasury on 27 July 1821 is in Soane's hand.


Wedgwood, 1992: p. 32, fig. 3; illustrated on p. 33
Sawyer, 1999: pp. 503-504; footnotes 1481 & 1483



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.

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