08 February 2012
Approximately 27,000 boxes of historic legal documents, some dating back to the 17th century, are being examined by archiving exp
Approximately 27,000 boxes of historic legal documents, some dating back to the 17th century, are being examined by archiving experts for historical importance.
The documents, kept in storage by the Law Society until now, originate from solicitors’ firms that no longer operate or exist. It is not always possible to repatriate these documents and they cannot be destroyed for legal reasons.
Contents range from property deeds and wills, which are hand written on vellum and stamped with the wax seal of Charles II, to personal diaries of society ladies from the early 19th century. These were originally stored in the solicitor’s offices but were never claimed by the clients.
As well as finding historical gems, the archivists also hope to repatriate some of the contents with any remaining legal owners - such as descendents of the original owners. This is a joint project with the Law Society and the SRA (Solicitors Regulation Authority). The two organisations are working with the Records Preservation Section of the British Records Association in order to sort out the documents of interest and loan them to public archives, on the basis that the documents could be retrieved should an owner come forward and ask for them.