Royal Asiatic Society Property: 22 Albemarle Street

Scope and Content

The Royal Asiatic Society leased the premises at 22 Albemarle Street from 1869-1919. These papers contain official lease documents, correspondence regarding the property and possible alternatives, and a more recent photograph.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland was founded by the eminent Sanskrit scholar Sir Henry Thomas Colebrooke on the 15th March 1823. It received its Royal Charter from King George IV on the 11th August 1824 'for the investigation of subjects connected with and for the encouragement of science, literature and the arts in relation to Asia'. It continues as a forum for those who are interested in the languages, cultures and history of Asia to meet and exchange ideas. The Society moved in to the upper part of 22 Albemarle Street in 1869, leased from Mr Charles Asprey, initially for 21 years rental at £300 a year. There wasn't room for the Museum in these premises and this was transferred to the India Office in 1868. Though other options for accommodation were explored, the Society remained at Albemarle Street until in 1919 Asprey began negotiations for them to vacate the premises.


The material was arranged into Series thus:

  • RAS PROP3/1 - Lease Documents
  • RAS PROP3/2 - Correspondence with Professor T.W. Rhys Davids
  • RAS PROP3/3 - Correspondence regarding alternative provision of premises
  • RAS PROP3/4 - Correspondence regarding relinquishing 22 Albemarle Street
  • RAS PROP3/5 - Research

Access Information

Open. Please contact the archivist using the email address given here. The archive is open on Tuesdays and Fridays 10-5, and Thursdays 2-5. Access is to any researcher without appointment but it will help if an appointment is made via phone or email. Please bring photo ID

Acquisition Information

These are part of the institutional records of the Royal Asiatic Society which have been accumulated throughout its history.

Archivist's Note

This material was catalogued by Nancy Charley, RAS Archivist, in 2019.

Conditions Governing Use

Digital photography (without flash) for research purposes may be permitted upon completion of a copyright declaration form, and with respect to current UK copyright law.

Custodial History

These records are part of the Royal Asiatic Society's Institutional Records and therefore part of the historical records of the Society.

Related Material

The Minutes of the Council Meetings provide evidence of the decisions being taken regarding the leasing of this property and the attempts to find finance and support for premises.

The chapter, "A History of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1823-1973" by C.F. Beckingham, within "The Royal Asiatic Society: Its History and Treasures", edited by Stuart Simmonds and Simon Digby, published 1979, provides further information regarding the history of the Society's premises.

Geographical Names