An account of the state of Cliffords Inn was publised in 1912. At that
time, the inhabitants of Cliffords Inn were engaged in a wide variety
of trades and professions: literary work, sculpture, painting, architecture,
theatre management, law, shorthand, typing, photography and tailoring.
It also contained the headquarters of the Art-Workers Guild the Positivist
Society, and the London Typographical Society, and the Society of Women
No 3 Cliffords Inn was occupied by a Mr. Fenn; one of the rooms was panelled
with exceptionally fine carving in the style of Grinling Gibbons. The
room had been rebuilt by John Penhallow who lived there from 1686 to 1716.
When Mr. Fenn died, the Victoria and Albert Museum bought the panelling
(see picture....................) The last principal of the Inn, Mr. E.R.Arden
was elected in1890.
In 1902, the Court of Appeal held that the freehold of the Inn was held
subject to a trust for charitable purposes and not, as four of the sixteen
remaining members ha d hoped, to the individual members in their personal
capacity for their own personal benefit. The Society now decided to sell
the Inn altogether, since it was no longer fulfilling its original function,
and to let the proceeds of sale go towards helping legal education in
whatever way the Attorney-General thought best. The extensive site of
38,000 sq.ft. was therefore sold as one lot by auction to Mr. Willett
for £100,000. Part of the site facing Chancery Lane was sold to
an insurance company, who erected a large nuing now occupied by a firm
of solicitors. The plan below was attached to a further sale in 1911.
It shows clearly the gatehouse, at the foot of the pink area on the map,
with the hall, modernised in 1767, behind it. The hall was surrounded
by a number of , some of which had been sold off prior to this date, Leonard
and Virginia Woolf took a room in no. 13, at the bottom right of the plan,
when they were first married in 1913.
The Society of Knights Bachelor acquired the ownership of the Hall, the
Lodge, the Old Court Yard, and the adjoining buildings at a later date.
A "History of Cliffords Inn" by William Page
was attached to the Particulars of Sale when Cliffords Inn was to be sold
by auction in 1920; it contains more detail, and
is reproduced here
The old buildings remained until 1934, when they were deomolished to make
way for the current Cliffords Inn.
The four photographs below are taken from "Images of
England - The City of London" by Brian Girling, who published a large
number of books of historic photographs of different areas of London.
Many of these are still available through amazon.co.uk
hall of Cliffords Inn was close to the Gatehouse (which still survives).
The curve of the arch appears at the top of the picture
The picture below shows the rear side of the hall, and some of the
individual houses within Cliffords Inn. Originally, these were houses
for individuals and families, but by the 1900s the whole place had
gone downhill, as can be seen from the building to the left of the
hall, portably now a common lodging house which let out individual
The picture above shows Ludgate Circus and Fleet
Street; note the number and size of the advertisements, none of which
would be allowed under the current City planning regulations., The
picture below is of Temple Bar which stood just to the right of Cliffords
Inn Passage on Fleet Street. The road has been widened since Temple
Bar was moved, originally to Epping Forest and later to Paternoster
Sources: Chapter X of "A
History of Cliffords Inn" by CM Hay-Edwards, 1912
"Images of England - The City of London" by Brian Girling
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