The oldest independent set of Chambers outside London

Our imposing Grade-II listed building, Old Bank House, was completed in 1696 and is the oldest brick-built house in Sheffield. Our superb wood-panelled conference room is Grade-I listed.

As a set, Bank House Chambers was formed in 1868 and moved to a Grade-I listed Georgian building at 42 Bank Street in the early 1900s. We moved to our current location in 1993.


Charles Booth opened a set of chambers at 22 Bank Street, Sheffield. He’d been educated at Eton and Cambridge and was called to the Bar in 1855. He remained in chambers on Bank Street until 1888, when he retired to Bournemouth. (Charles Booth’s father fought in the Battle of Salamanca, in the Peninsula War, and his uncle fought at Waterloo. His great-uncle was a founder of two steel firms, Booth & Co and Walker & Booth of Rotherham.)


Charles Booth was then joined by John Edward Barker, who was also educated at Eton and Cambridge. John Barker was called in 1862, but moved to Sheffield having acted on claims arising from the Sheffield flood of 1864. In 1867, he was appointed secretary to a royal commission into trade union outrages in Sheffield. He took silk in 1891, and was appointed as a recorder of Leeds.


Edward Welby, also of Eton and Cambridge, joined chambers. All three tenants moved premises to 42 Bank Street. Edward Welby, of Norton House, Sheffield, remained at 42 Bank Street until appointed as stipendiary magistrate to Sheffield in 1874.

By the time of Booth’s retirement, he had been joined in chambers by William Cordeaux (who wrote the invaluable book A Handbook on the Law of Traction Engines, With the Statutes Which Govern Their Use upon Highways (published 1883) and Thomas Ellison, who was the son of the local county court judge.

Later tenants of the building included Herbert Wilberforce (grandson of William Wilberforce, the renowned anti-slavery campaigner and legislator), and Robert Leader (owner of the Sheffield Independent newspaper). Together with a local solicitor, Edward Bramley (secretary to the Sheffield and District Law Society), Robert Leader was involved in setting up the University of Sheffield’s faculty of law.


By now, there were over 20 tenants at 42 Bank Street. Following a split in 1976, 42 Bank Street continued to grow and prosper and remained at that address until the early 1990s, when it moved to Old Bank House, Hartshead, and became known as Bank House Chambers.


We think our future is as important as our past. We work hard to keep up to date with developments in the law, technology, and the changing world we live in so that we can continue to provide a high-quality service to our lay and professional clients. Attracting the next generation of talent to join Bank House is central to this – so if you’re interested in exploring this, please visit our recruitment pages.

A developing circuit

The North Eastern Circuit was formed in 1876 from what were the northernmost part of today’s Midland Circuit and the eastern half of the Northern Circuit. New local sets of chambers had begun to emerge to meet the growing needs of an increasingly vibrant and confident industrial and commercial era, weakening the influence of Manchester and Birmingham.