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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0074 ACC/0370
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1802-1935
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 0.16 linear metres
Name of creator(s): Hyde, Mahon and Pascall | solicitors


Administrative/Biographical history:

Yates, James (1789-1871), Unitarian minister and scholar, was born in Toxteth Park, Liverpool, on 30 April 1789. His father was minister (1777-1823) of the dissenting congregation in Kaye Street and later in Paradise Street, Liverpool. In 1811 Yates became the unordained minister of a Unitarian congregation in Glasgow, for which a new chapel was opened on 15 November 1812 in Union Place.

In 1827 Yates spent a semester at the University of Berlin studying classical philology. In 1819 he was elected a Fellow of the Geological Society, in 1822 of the Linnean Society, and in 1831 of the Royal Society. In 1832 Yates succeeded John Scott Porter as minister of Carter Lane Chapel, Doctors' Commons, London. However, in 1834 he left the ministry and, being unordained, gave up using the title Reverend. His interest in denominational history and controversy was unabated. From 1831 to 1861 he served as a trustee of Dr Williams's foundations, among other great services introducing the system of competitive examinations for scholarships.

Except for Leonhard Schmitz, Yates was the largest contributor to the "Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities" (1842) edited by William Smith (1813-1893); he supplied drawings for one-half of the woodcuts and wrote one-eighth of the text. His "Textrinum antiquorum" (1843), of which only the first part, with valuable appendices, was published, illustrates the minuteness and accuracy of his research. Numerous papers on archaeological subjects were contributed by him to the learned societies of London and Liverpool, and he became a strong advocate of the decimal system.

About 1820 Yates had married Dorothea (d. 1884), daughter of John William Crompton of Edgbaston, Birmingham; there were no children. With his inherited wealth he passed his later years in learned leisure at Lauderdale House, Highgate, where he had a fine library, a valuable collection of works of art, and a noted garden. Though his own habits were simple, he was noted for his extensive hospitality, and his conversation, aided by a marvellous memory, was deeply interesting. He was small in stature with a courtly dignity in his bearing; his power of caustic remark was all the more effective, given the unvarying calmness of his measured speech. He died at Lauderdale House on 7 May 1871, and was buried at Highgate cemetery on 11 May. His will left considerable benefactions, including endowments for chairs in University College, London, but his property did not realize the estimated amount.

From: Alexander Gordon, 'Yates, James (1789-1871)', rev. R. K. Webb, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, May 2007 [, accessed 10 Nov 2009]


Scope and content/abstract:

Legal documents, copies of wills and deeds, 1802-1935, relating to properties and estates in various locations including Pinner, the City of London, Woolwich and Islington. Also probate of will of James Yates of Lauderdale House, Highgate, including bequest of railway stock to University College, London to found Professorship of Archaeology, 1871.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

ACC/0370-1: Properties and inheritance.

Conditions governing access:

Available for general access.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright rests with the City of London.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Received in 1950 (Acc/0370).

Allied Materials

Related material:

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:
July to October 2009

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