Royal Asiatic Society Property: 56 Queen Anne Street

Scope and Content

The Royal Asiatic Society leased the premises at 56 Queen Anne Street from 1947 to 1988. The papers include official lease documents, sub-letting agreements, correspondence, plans and photographs.

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 to 56 Queen Anne Street in time for the Anniversary Meeting on 16 May 1947. A 63 year lease was taken from the Howard de Walden Estate at a cost of £8000. As the Grosvenor Street lease had been sold for £25000 this was an astute financial move for the Society.


The material was arranged in series:

  • RAS PROP5/1 - Lease Agreements
  • RAS PROP5/2 - Subletting - Ground Floor
  • RAS PROP5/3 - Subletting - Second Floor Flat
  • RAS PROP5/4 - Subletting - Third Floor Flat
  • RAS PROP5/5 - Room Hire
  • RAS PROP5/6 - Repair of Roof Dome
  • RAS PROP5/7 - Development of Premises
  • RAS PROP5/8 - Letters of Support
  • RAS PROP5/9 - Sale of Lease
  • RAS PROP5/10 - History of Property
  • RAS PROP5/11 - Property Plans
  • RAS PROP5/12 - Headed Notepaper
  • RAS PROP5/13 - Photographs

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

These Papers were 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