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History comes home

Posted on 21 August 2013  - 10:01

The contents of two innocuous looking boxes provided a great deal of interest and excitement at White Hart Lane on Tuesday.

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Both contained historical legal items relating to the Club, including deeds and conveyancing documents.  A number relate to the original purchase of White Hart Lane in 1899 with others concerning other local property sites.

The containers were delivered by Jeremy Almond, of the Law Society, who explained that a great many historical legal documents, some dating back to the 17th Century, are being examined by experts in a nationwide project.

The documents, kept in storage by the Law Society until now, are passed on from solicitors’ firms that no longer operate or exist.

Where possible the plan is to repatriate these documents as they cannot be destroyed for legal reasons.

Approximately 27,000 boxes are being examined by archiving experts for historical importance. Contents range from property deeds and wills, which are hand written on vellum and stamped with the wax seal of Charles II, to personal diaries of society ladies from the early 19th Century.

These were originally stored in the solicitors’ offices but were never claimed by the clients.

This is a joint project with the Law Society and the SRA (Solicitors Regulation Authority).

The Law Society and the SRA are now working with the Records Preservation Section of the British Records Association in order to sort out the documents of interest and loan them to public archives.

Law Society CEO Desmond Hudson said this is a fascinating project, which offers a great insight into Britain's legal history.

He added: “We know the Law Society archivists and the volunteers from the British Records Association have a mammoth task on their hands. Everything from jewellery to wills are stored in the archives including, we hope and assume, many documents of great public interest and historical relevance.

“We are keen to hand over these documents to public archives to make sure that they are preserved and available to whoever needs them.”

In our photograph Jeremy Almond is pictured (left) with John Fennelly, our Head of Publications, at White Hart Lane.