I am very lucky to work in the beating heart of the chancery Chambers in London. My own office is based in Gray’s Inn (not graze in as one of our clients writes on envelopes!) and the Inn and its gardens are fabulous!
There is one building that has caught my eye on high holborn from my first day – it is the Holborn Bars building and the former home for Prudential Assurance Company.
The exterior is v similar to that of the St Pancreas hotel near Kings Cross with victorian gothic red brick and slate roof with turrets and and church like windows. The hotel at kings cross is only 10 minutes away at the other end of grays inn road.
Before the current building that we see today the site has had an interesting past and has see some facinating characters from our history.
Its first incarnation was as one of the Inns of Chancery. This one was called Furnival Inn. The in was founded in 1383 and was affliated with the famous Lincoln’s Inn down the road.
The original building was to survive until the 1800s surviving the Great Fire of London in 1666. But in 1817 Lincolns inn desided to dissolve that inn.
Consequently the inn site was sold and then rebuilt by its new owner in 1897.
I mentioned that people of note had associations with the site here is a list of names and dates:
Sir Thomas More was a reader at the Inn from 1504 -07
Charles Dickens rented rooms within the site from 1834 and 1837. (A damn site better than Slough were he also rented) he was also thought to have started to write the Pickwick Papers whilest a tennant at the site.
JM Barrie author of Peter Pan lived in some chambers from 1888-9.
So the next time you find yourself in high holborn and see the grand old Pru Building remember that is a site that has seen an interesting history.