This year, Hunters Solicitors reach a very special milestone and celebrate 300 years of forward thinking with a series of special events and a big birthday party in Westminster Abbey Gardens. I must say that this is quite the first birthday party I will be attending where anybody is turning quite as old as that while doing better than ever and is in fact looking forward to the next 300 years. Our archive remains a rich source of historical deeds and information, so here are some brief highlights from our history.
1715 saw the earliest reference in Chancery proceedings to the founding father of Hunters. A few years later, the firm advised several clients on their failed investments during the South Sea bubble which burst in 1720. By 1799, the firm first moved to Lincoln’s Inn before taking up office at 9 New Square in 1802, where our main office remains to this day. Tradition has it that the firm’s involvement in the great Beer Flood of October 1814 was purely legal, acting for the brewery at the centre of the misfortune. By the time the battle of Waterloo was decided, Hunters already celebrated its first centenary in business. While the tradition of the ‘W Club’, whose members regularly took the train to Winchester and would down a double at every station beginning with a W does not survive, the Seven Sisters pub is still very much our ‘Outer Office’ and the spirit of conviviality remains alive and kicking. By 1847, the now well-established firm leads with the name Hunters for the first time. From the Boer wars to early support for the suffragettes, Hunters partners were there when history was written. By the time our bicentenary came around in 1915, disaster struck when during the Great War a bomb dropped during a German Zeppelin raid on London scored a direct hit on 9 New Square, destroying six rooms in the office but, luckily, killing nobody. A plaque in our reception still commemorates the day and includes the leather carry handle of the bomb, together with a piece of the shell and a piece of shrapnel embedded in a bundle of papers.
We have always been conservative about naming our clients who, over the centuries, included a very rich seam of sportsmen and women, entertainers, actors, politicians, banks, businesses, charities and a fairly liberal dose of aristocracy. Our acting for Evelyn Waugh in the divorce from his first wife Evelyn Gardner is a matter of public record (they were known as the “He-Evelyn” and “She-Evelyn”); and this much is probably acceptable, too: Hunters acted for Edward & Mrs Simpson during “difficult times”.
I feel privileged to be part of this proud tradition of serving our clients and conscious of the responsibility that comes with it to take care of the ship that we are navigating before handing the helm over to the next generation. Thank you to all of our clients and staff, whose loyalty is the lifeblood of our future.
This article was originally published in Discover Germany and can be found here.
Hunters incorporating May, May & Merrimans