AIM25 : Click here to go back to the AIM25 homepage
Archives in London and the M25 area


Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0074 ACC/1559
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
  Click here to find out how to view this collection at ›
Date(s): 1832-1979
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 6.64 linear metres
Name of creator(s): United Law Clerks' Society


Administrative/Biographical history:

The United Law Clerks' Society was founded on 14 April 1832 at a meeting of law clerks in the Southampton Coffee House, Southampton Buildings, Chancery Lane. Its purpose was to make mutual provision against the hardship of fellow law clerks who were overtaken with sickness and infirmity, and, on their death, the poverty of their dependants.

There were two funds, the General Benefit Fund, with assured benefits in sickness, old age and payments on death, and the Benevolent Fund (or Casual Fund) which was for discretionary grants.

The society developed its role as the oldest friendly society for law clerks becoming a health insurance society after the National Health Insurance Act was passed in 1911. Membership of the society was at first restricted to law clerks residing in London but in 1924 the society's operations extended to the whole of England and Wales.

The society was based at the Southampton Coffee House between 1832 and 1839, at which time it removed its meetings to the Crown and Anchor Tavern (at the corner of Arundel Street and the Strand) until 1847. Between 1847 and 1874 it used the Freemasons Tavern, Great Queen Street. By 1874 it had grown large enough to move into its own office at 3 Old Serjeant's Inn, Chancery Lane, and in 1900 it moved to its more permanent home at 2 Stone Buildings, Lincoln's Inn.

The society still exists as a registered charity providing grants and annuities in cases of distress to persons employed in the legal profession in England and Wales, and the widows and children of such persons. It is managed by a voluntary committee of trustees.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the United Law Clerks' Society. The records reflect the activities of the society. Its minutes of meetings are almost complete between 1832 and 1979. The rules and annual reports demonstrate how the society adapted to the needs of its members and legislation changes. The statements of account summarise the more detailed transactions recorded in the account books of the various funds set up by the society. Valuation records necessitated by the passing of the Friendly Societies Act, 1875 show how the society calculated its benefits between 1880 and 1954. The records of annual festivals relate the extensive contacts maintained by the Bench, the Bar and the Solicitors with the society.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Administration: ACC/1559/001-081;
Finance: ACC/1559/082-169;
Membership: ACC/1559/170-184;
Festivals: ACC/1559/185-198;
General material: ACC/1559/199-215.

Conditions governing access:

These records are open to public inspection, although records containing personal information may be subject to closure periods.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright to these records rests with the depositor.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Records deposited in June 1980.

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:
June to August 2010.

Related Subject Search

* To search for other records with similar subjects, tick any subjects above then click "Run New Search"

Related Corporate Name Search

* To search for other records with similar names, tick any names above then click "Run New Search"

Related Placename Search

* To search for other records with similar placenames, tick any names above then click "Run New Search"