Long before the establishment of the Squire Law Library, the study of law had thrived for centuries at the University of Cambridge. However, in the latter years of the 19th century, the lawyers of Cambridge were found to be lacking accommodation and when an appeal was launched to raise money for a law faculty building, an opportunity arose to create a law library too which would be distinct from the main University Library. The new Squire Law Library was funded by a bequest from Miss Rebecca Flower Squire and the new building, located on Downing Street in Cambridge, was officially opened by King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra on 1 March 1904.
In 1935, having outgrown the original accommodation, the Squire moved to the Cockerell Building, now the Gonville & Caius College Library, which is situated behind the Senate House, and next to The Old Schools in the centre of Cambridge. In 1982 the Library’s status changed from that of a Faculty Library (governed and financed directly through the Law Faculty) to being a dependent library of Cambridge University Library (CUL). In the coming years, the Squire acquired legal deposit status as part of the CUL.
In the summer of 1995, the Squire was transferred to its current location on the Sidgwick Site – to a new, modern Law Faculty building, designed by Sir Norman Foster and Partners. The building was officially opened on 8 March 1996 by H.M. The Queen with the then Chancellor of the University, H.R.H. The Duke of Edinburgh, in attendance.
Today, the Squire Law Library is embedded in the Faculty of Law and occupies the top three floors of the building. It is now categorised as an affiliated library of Cambridge University Library and is one of the largest academic legal collections in the UK. The Squire aims to support and underpin the teaching and research activities of the students and researchers associated with the Cambridge Faculty of Law.