Hartlepool solicitors celebrate 160 years in business

A Hartlepool solicitors is looking forward to a momentous occasion as it celebrates its 160th anniversary this weekend.

Friday, 14th June 2019, 10:45 am
Updated Monday, 17th June 2019, 11:32 am
Terence Creed (left) and Diane Brough (right) partners R Bell and Son Solicitors, Victoria Road, Hartlepool with staff (left to right)Susan Clouston, Caroline Gilhespy-Swan, Linda Travers, Agnes Standing, Christine Waller and Julie Dale.

R Bell & Son, in Victoria Road, has helped thousands of clients during its long and proud history.

The practice was started by Ralph Bell from premises in Church Street, on June 16, 1859.

It is still going strong today and looking forward to continuing to serve clients for many years yet.

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Herbert Wright Bell, son of Raplh Bell, as Town Clerk of Hartlepool. Picture by FRANK REID

The practice's current senior partners are Diane Brough and Terence Creed, supported by experienced family solicitor Christine Waller and a host of support staff contributing to the firm’s modern day success.

Mrs Brough said: “We are proud of the firm’s heritage.

“It has been our pleasure to serve the people of Hartlepool between us for over 30 years.”

Mrs Brough said a wealth of experience lies behind the firm’s success.

Toff the dog sitting on a chair in the office of Solicitor Diane Brough at R Bell and Son Solicitors, Victoria Road, Hartlepool where he attends work with her every day. Picture by FRANK REID

In 1900 Herbert Wright Bell joined his father Ralph in the practice.

Herbert took his Jack Russell dog to work with him every day, a tradition kept up today by Mrs Brough with her faithful spaniel Toff.

Over the years some of the firm’s finest solicitors have been appointed to judicial office.

Herbert Wright Bell was appointed Town Clerk of Hartlepool in 1891. He was made a Justice of the Peace in 1922 and Mayor of Hartlepool in 1926.

R Bell and Son Solicitors, Victoria Road, Hartlepool. Picture by FRANK REID

Partner Peter Ord served as Coroner for North Cleveland, and Denis Lascelles retired to take up an appointment as a District Judge.

The firm’s former partners include Henry Soden-Bird and three generations of the Kirkup family; Roger, John and Henry.

It moved to Lower Church Street in 1920, then to Upper Church Street in 1928.

In 1972 the firm relocated to Victoria Road and has been in its current building at Durham House, also in Victoria Road, since 2000.

They specialise in three areas of law – wills, probate and administration of estates; family law; and residential and commercial conveyancing.

Mrs Brough said their personal yet professional service is appreciated by clients as shown by their many thank you cards.

She added: “It’s lovely to be appreciated like that. We have survived two world wars and several recessions.

“And Brexit certainly isn’t going to get in the way.”