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  • image SM 53/1/17

Reference number

SM 53/1/17


[143] Finished drawing, New Law Courts, June 1821


Plan of the main (ground) floor of the New Law Courts, incorporating the existing Court of Exchequer and Court of Common Pleas, with existing walls to be demolished recorded in line without wash, not executed


bar scale of 1/10 inch to 1 foot


Design for the New Law Courts at Westminster. / Scale of Feet / Entrance into the Court / of Chancery / Entrance into the / Court of Common Pleas. / Entrance into the / Court of Kings Bench &c. / Water Closet (x 8) / Staircase. (x 8) / The Court of Exchequer. / Court. / Coffee House / Entrance into / The Coffee House. / The Court of Chancery. / Tribunal (x 3) / Passage. / Area (x 8) / Attendants on the / Lord Chancellor. / The Lord Chancellor's / Retiring Room. / Lobby, or / Anti Room. / Vice-Chancelor's / Room. / The Vice-Chancellor's / Court. / Entrance Hall to the / Court of Chancery &c: / Entrance into the Court of Chancery, / the Court of Exchequer, and the / Court of Equity. / The Court of / Common Pleas. / Judges Room of the / Court of Common Pleas / Corridor of Communication. (x 2) / Hall of Entrance / Entrance into the Vice-Chancellor's Court. / Custos Brevia. [sic] / Entrance / into the / Court of Common Pleas. / Grand Jury / Room. / Way for the Jury to the Court of Kings Bench / The Court of King's Bench. / Judge's retiring / Room. / Officers &c: attending / on the Lord Chief Justice. / The Bail Court / &c: / Mr. Hewitt. / Hall of Entrance / into / The Court of Kings / Bench. / Mr. White. / Entrance into the Court of / King's Bench. / (pencil) No 2

Signed and dated

  • June 1821
    June. 1821.

Medium and dimensions

Pencil, wash, coloured washes of buff, pink and blue, pen, within hextuple ruled wash border, pricked for tansfer on wove paper (905 x 615)


Soane Office, draughtsman


J Whatman / 1820


A finely worked-up drawing incorporating the variant suggestions shown in SM 53/1/15. Two new entrances have been broken through the west wall of Westminster Hall, both adopting for their model the existing arch into the Court of Common Pleas. As in the latter drawing, the distinctive curved plans of the Courts of Chancery and King's Bench is noteworthy. The amount of existing fabric retained and incorporated into the New Law Courts in this scheme is considerable. The proliferation of lightwells (nine in all) was later reduced as Soane's arrangment of accommodation and circulation was revised and refined. Despite the numerous designated entrances to the Courts from St Margaret's Street, the circulation is treated with marked insularity for the respective Courts.



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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