Royal Asiatic Society Property: 74 Grosvenor Street

Scope and Content

The Royal Asiatic Society leased 74 Grosvenor Street from 1920 to 1947. These papers include those for the negotiation of taking up the lease, for possibility lease of different premises, for wartime damage insurance contributions, for the expediency of leaving the premises. There is also a photograph of 74 Grosvenor Street of unknown date.

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 74 Grosvenor Street at the beginning of 1920, when its lease was terminated on 22 Albemarle Street. A 63 year lease was taken on the property and an opening reception was held at the property on 30 March 1920, when the Chinese Minister gave an address. The premises were large enough to sub-let parts. But it was a costly move and in 1932 it was suggested the Society might join the School of Oriental Studies. This was dismissed and the outbreak of war in 1939 disrupted further plans for moving. The society stayed at Grosvenor Street until 1947, when it moved to 56 Queen Anne Street - a move that made a considerable profit for the Society.


The material was arranged into series:

  • RAS PROP4/1 - Leasing 74 Grosvenor Street
  • RAS PROP4/2 - Possible Lease of Farm House
  • RAS PROP4/3 - War Damage Insurance Contributions
  • RAS PROP4/4 - Director's Note on the Financial Aspect of the Society's Removal
  • RAS PROP4/5 - Photograph

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