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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): COL/MH/MSH
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1728-1994
Level of description: Collection
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Extent: 2.3 linear metres
Name of creator(s): Corporation of London


Administrative/Biographical history:

Mansion House is unique as the only purpose-built home of the Lord Mayor of the City of London, providing not only living and working space for the Lord Mayor and his household but also room for large ceremonial entertainments and banquets.

The building of Mansion House was first considered after the Great Fire of London in 1666, but the first stone was not laid until 1739 after much discussion over the selection of the site, the design and the architect. Sir Crispin Gascoigne was the first Lord Mayor to take up residence, in 1752. A fashionable Palladian style with a large classical portico was chosen by the City's Clerk of Works, George Dance the Elder. Built around a central courtyard it contained a cellar, a ground floor for the servants and the kitchen, a grand first floor of offices, dining and reception rooms, including the Egyptian Hall where banquets were held, a second floor with a gallery for dancing and chambers for the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress, and a third floor of bedchambers.

The Egyptian Hall is so named because its form was thought to replicate the dining halls used in Egypt during the Roman period, with giant columns supporting a narrower attic area. Reconstructions of such became very fashionable in the 18th century. However, there is nothing Egyptian about the decoration, which is classical in style. Although Mansion House retains much of its original character, there have been changes - one of the most important of which was the covering of the internal courtyard to form what is now known as the Saloon to provide a large reception area.

During its life the house has undergone a number of extensive repair programmes. The most recent was the refurbishment work of 1991-3, when structural repair, careful conservation and complete redecoration were carried out. The result was well received and won a number of conservation awards. Mansion House was originally intended to enable the Lord Mayor to represent the City in appropriate style, and it continues to fulfil this function more than two centuries later.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records relating to the Mansion House, including minute books of the Mansion House Committee (which oversaw construction), 1734-1788; papers of the Mansion House Committee, including accounts submitted by contractors, 1728-1810; papers relating to the construction of Mansion House and subsequent maintenance, 1730-1992; pamphlet entitled City corruption and mal-administration display'd; occasion'd by the the Management of the Publick Money in general: with some Remarks upon the modest Enquiry into the Conduct of the Court of Aldermen, etc., addressed to the Citizens of London against the ensuing Election for Common Councilmen. By a citizen. London. Printed for J. Roberts, near the Oxford Annual in Warwick Lane, 1738, protesting at alleged corruption in the allocation of contracts for the building of Mansion House; contracts for work done at Mansion House, 1738-1749; catalogue raisonné of the principal articles of furniture and other objects of artistic and historical importance at the Mansion House, London, 1953; account of dilapidations of furniture at the Mansion House, 1787; inventories of the furniture and other effects at the Mansion House, 1752-1898; catalogue of the Mansion House Plate Collection, 1970?; a list of the plate, with the inscriptions thereon, at the Mansion House of the City of London, 1888; Plate Books, containing particulars of plate as contained in the annual Plate Indentures, and signed by the Plate Butler, 1835-1970; articles and guidebooks about the history of Mansion House, 1925-1994; visitor's books, 1875-1876 and 1919-1920; tenders submitted to the General Purposes Committee of the Common Council for the supply of dinner, dessert, tea and coffee and glass services for 300 persons for use at the Mansion House, 1875 and order of the Court of Common Council offering a reward of £50 for the discovery of persons who took part in a riot and broke the windows and lamps at the Mansion House, 1768.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

In sections according to catalogue.

Conditions governing access:

These records are available for public inspection, although records containing personal information are subject to access restrictions under the UK Data Protection Act, 1998.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright: City of London.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Corporation of London Records Office.

Allied Materials

Related material:

For records of the Corporation of London relating to building construction and improvements work, see COL/CC/BBB: Blackfriars Bridge (Building) Committee, COL/CC/BBR: Blackfriars Bridge (Repairing) Committee, COL/CC/BRC: Barbican Centre Committee, COL/CC/CLSB: City of London School Building Committee, COL/CC/CRE: Central Criminal Court (Extension) Committee, COL/CC/GHI: Guildhall Improvement Committee, COL/CC/GHY: Guildhall Yard East Building Committee, COL/CC/IMP: Improvements Committee (Corporation), COL/CC/LBI: London Bridge Improvements Committee, COL/CC/MRI: Markets Improvement Committee, COL/CC/SGC: Special (Guildhall Reconstruction) Committee, COL/CC/WAC: Works Advisory Committee, COL/CHD/IM: Chamberlain's Department: Improvements, COL/MH/MSH: The Mansion House, COL/PL: Plans, the papers of the Planning Department (COL/PLD), the papers of the Surveyor's Department (COL/SVD) and the papers of the Technical Services Department (COL/TSD).

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
February 2009

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