Royal Asiatic Society Property: 14 Grafton Street

Scope and Content

The Royal Asiatic Society moved into the premises, 14 Grafton Street, in 1824 and remained there until 1848. Unfortunately no original archival material remains dating from this time, but there are historic photographs, plans of the premises and some accumulated research notes among the material connected to 14 Grafton Street.

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. On 15th January 1824, the Society took the lease for 14 Grafton Street, Bond Street, for a rental of £225. The Society tried to gain land to build alternative premises and also to move into Somerset House but remained at Grafton Street until 1848 when it moved to 5 New Burlington Street.


The material was divided into files:

  • RAS PROP1/1 - Photographs
  • RAS PROP1/2 - Research Notes
  • RAS PROP1/3 - Floor Plans

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