The history of our firm goes back to at least 1830 and possibly to the eighteenth century. For the best part of 100 years, the firm was run by the Thompson family. The York Permanent Benefit Building Society was also based at Judges’ Court and our firm acted as solicitors to the Society. For some time, the firm also provided the secretary and treasurer for the Ouse Navigation Company.
Our firm remained a two or three fee earner concern until the 1970s. Since then, it has expanded to the present 11 fee earners, enabling it to keep pace with the ever expanding volume of laws and with technological change, whilst maintaining the best traditions of its long history.
The York office has been at Judges’ Court since at least 1850. Judges Court is believed to have been built in about 1700 and has seen many changes over the years. It was, when built, the town house of a country gentleman. He let it for the accommodation of the judges during the York Assizes (hence its name), and it continued to be used for this purpose until 1806 when the judges moved to what is now the Judges' Lodgings Hotel in Lendal. In the eighteenth century, the house had gardens running right through to Davygate, where its stables were sited.
During the first half of the nineteenth century, it seems to have had a number of uses, some a little bizarre. At one stage, at least part of it was a coffee house and another part was a 'Mechanical Museum'. Amongst other wonders, this included "Fountains and cascades of artificial water moving in all directions", the fountains "blown up by a group of dolphins". There were "tritons striding sea horses" and "a silver swan and other water fowls...moving in various directions".
The building then seems to have been sub-divided and let as separate houses or lodgings. In 1841, things started to settle down when it was bought by the trustees of the adjoining New Street Methodist Chapel (which stood where the New Street frontage of British Home Stores now is) and was used for a while as the minister's residence. Not long afterwards, though, it was let as offices and has continued as such ever since.