Druces LLP is the modern and proud descendant of a legal business that has its roots and origins in the City of London going back to 1767. The Law Society Gazette wrote in 1992:
“The firm of Druces & Attlee in the City of London was founded by Robert Parnther in 1767. Charles Druce joined him in 1783. In 1785 Charles was appointed clerk to the Worshipful Company of Innholders, a position held by successive partners in the firm to this day. Charles’s grandson, Charles Claridge Druce, was President of the Law Society in 1881. Henry Attlee, a partner since 1874, was President in 1907. One of Henry’s sons, Clement, became Prime Minister in 1945.”
A picture of Charles Druce hangs in Innholders Hall.
The Directory of London and Westminster and the Borough of Southwark 1794, containing “An alphabetical List of the Names and Places of Abode of the Directors of Companies, Persons in Public Business, Merchts., and other eminent Traders in the Cities of London and Westminster, and Borough of Southwark” lists “Parnther & Druce, Attornies, 12, London-str.“
Druces now occupies part of Salisbury House on Finsbury Circus. The site of Salisbury House and neighbouring London Wall Buildings was occupied by Bethlem Hospital from 1676 to 1815. Bethlem Hospital, or Bedlam, was originally a priory of the Order of the Star of Bethlehem founded in 1247 by Simon FitzMary, Sheriff of London. Later it became England’s first lunatic asylum.
The area around Finsbury Circus was originally a fen and waste ground, known as Moorfields and medieval records described it as a place of amusement for London’s apprentices, particularly for skating in winter. Moorgate was constructed in 1415 by the then Mayor of London, Thomas Falconer, to allow convenient access through London’s walls across causeways to Hoxton and Iseldon. The area was drained in 1527 and first built on after the Great Fire. Finsbury Circus was later laid out and Georgian residences built around it following the demolition of the Hospital in 1815. These remained until they too were demolished in 1898 to allow for the construction of Salisbury House, completed in 1901.