William Searle Holdsworth
Sir William Searle Holdsworth, OM, KC, DCL, LL.D, FBA, (7 May 1871 – 2 January 1944) was Vinerian Professor of English Law at Oxford University and a legal historian, amongst whose works is the 17 volume History of English Law.
Early life 
Sir William Searle Holdsworth was born in May 1871, the son of a well-known London solicitor, Charles Joseph Holdsworth and his wife Ellen Caroline (née Searle). He was educated at Dulwich College and in 1890 went on to win a History Exhibition from Dulwich College to New College, Oxford. He took first-class honours both in History and in Law, and second class honours in the BCL (Bachelor of Civil Law, a graduate-law degree.).
History of English Law and other works 
- History of English Law (17 volumes, published between 1903 and 1966). This was Holdsworth's greatest literary academic achievement. The work begins with Anglo-Saxon times, and it is an account of legal procedure and court organization down to the Judicature Acts of 1875 and of the important phases of substantive law through the 18th century. Though indubitably impressive in its scope, Holdsworth's history is now recognized as not having been written to full modern scholarly standards, and is consequently treated with some caution by current legal historians.
- The Historians of Anglo-American Law (1928, repr. 1966); and
- Charles Dickens as a Legal Historian (1928, repr. 1972), the book version of Holdsworth's Storrs Lectures at Yale Law School, argued that historians should pay closer attention to the novels of Charles Dickens as source material about the workings of English law and legal institutions; it contains a thoughtful and sensitive analysis of Dickens's novel Bleak House as an illuminating examination of the Chancery system.
- Some Makers of English Law (Cambridge University Press, 1938), reprinting the Tagore Lectures delivered in 1937-1938 at Calcutta University, offering an overview of the history of English law through biographical studies of key figures in that history.
The Holdsworth Club 
The Holdsworth Club is the University of Birmingham Law School’s student law society. The Holdsworth Club was founded in 1927 and named after Sir William Holdsworth, by Professor C.E. Smalley-Baker who served as the first Dean of the University of Birmingham’s Faculty of Law between 1928 and 1949. Sir William Holdsworth was Smalley-Baker's mentor and had been an External Examiner at the University for several years.
After giving his name to the Law Faculty's Student Club (the names of Bacon, Coke and Blackstone having been considered and rejected) Sir William Holdsworth became its active Patron. In this role he attended and spoke at the Club's annual dinner, and he gave an annual presidential address. The establishment of the presidency of the Holdsworth Club as an annual office, involving the sole obligations of attending a dinner and giving a lecture, led to the Faculty gaining a distinguished line of visiting speakers, (which by 1948 already included two Lord Chancellors and two Masters of the Rolls).
Sir William Holdsworth remained patron of the club until his death in 1944 (after which there have been two more patrons: Dean Smalley-Baker 1949-72; and Professor Owen Hood-Phillips 1974-86). The list of distinguished presidents includes lord chancellors, such as Hailsham, father and son, Master of the Rolls, Denning (three times); Donaldson; Bingham; Green, the majority of the great law lords of the 20th century and academic lawyers such as the international lawyer Sir Arnold McNair and the American jurist Dean Roscoe Pound to whom the Golden Medal of the American Bar Association was awarded for "conspicuous service to the cause of American jurisprudence" was presented in 1940. This medal is still worn by Holdsworth presidents when delivering their address. The vice president of the club is Mr George Applebey, lecturer at law.
The Holdsworth Society St John's College, Oxford 
The Holdsworth Society is the College Law Society of St John's College, Oxford. The Committee consists of the President (the previous year's Secretary), the Secretary and the Librarian. The Holdsworth Society attracts a high calibre of guest speaker, and also hosts termly black tie dinners. The social highlight of the Society's year is undoubtedly the Alumni Dinner, which is held in Hall at the end of Hilary Term.
The St John's College Law Library is named The Holdsworth Room after Sir William Searle Holdsworth, Fellow of St. John's 1897-1922 and Vinerian Professor of Law, and later Honorary Fellow. His portrait in pastels by E. Plachter can be seen there.
There are at least two portraits of Sir William Holdsworth by Bassano which are held by the National Portrait Gallery  His portrait in pastels by E. Plachter can be seen in the Holdsworth Room of St John's College, Oxford.
- Canadian Bar Association (1923), The Canadian Bar Review, Page 362, (Canadian Bar Association)
- (1944) The Law Quarterly Review, (Stevens)
- (1965) The Law Journal, Page 9
- H. G. Hanbury, ‘Holdsworth, Sir William Searle (1871–1944)’, rev. David Ibbetson, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 ;online edn, May 2006 accessed 21 Nov 2010
- The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. Copyright 2007 Columbia University Press
- Cosgrove, Richard A., "The Culture of Academic Legal History: Lawyers' History and Historians' Law 1870-1930", 33 Cambrian L. Rev. 23-34 (2002).
- Royal Insight:GREAT BRITONS: CELEBRATING THE CENTENARY OF THE ORDER OF MERIT
- University of Birmingham, (2005), LLM Taught Masters programmes in Law, Page 22, (University of Birmingham)
- The Holdsworth Club
- John Bosworth , (1987), History of the Birmingham Law Faculty, the First Sixty Years
- St John’s College Oxford
- National Portrait Gallery
Further reading 
- Goodhart, A.L., (1954), Sir William Searle Holdsworth, O.M., 1871-1944, A Memorial Address, (Bernard Quaritch [for the Selden Society] London)
- John Bosworth, (1987), History of the Birmingham Law Faculty, the First Sixty Years
William Martin Geldart
|Vinerian Professor of English Law