Celebrating 175 Years
In 1841 the first edition of Punch magazine was published,Robert Peel became Prime Minister, and the Penny Black stamp wasreplaced by the Penny Red. Also, here in Hull, a young Solicitorcalled John Rollit began practising law with his Partner WilliamDryden. The Firm was called Dryden Sons & Rollit.
In 1850 Rollit, the son of a cabinet maker, set up business onhis own at 62 Whitefriargate and soon after welcomed his two sonsAlbert and Arthur to the Partnership now called Rollit andSons.
The Firm began to grow rapidly. Albert served two terms as LordMayor of Hull, served as MP for Islington, and was knightedin 1885. The same year his wife, Lady Eleanor died at the early ageof 31. A Lady Mayoress dying in office was unprecedented andEleanor was afforded a civic funeral, its cortege witnessed by acrowd of over 20,000 citizens of Hull. Eleanor is remembered tothis day with a portrait and bust on display in The Guildhall.
Thomas Farrell had joined the Rollits in 1878, and the same yearthe Firm took a lease of the newly built Cogan House in BowlalleyLane. It was to be the Firm's home for the next 103 years.
Following their education at the then new Hymers College,Thomas's sons Bede and Hugh were admitted to the partnership, nowtrading as Rollit and Farrell. Both men saw service in the GreatWar and unfortunately Bede was not to return to Hull, having beenkilled by enemy fire at the Second Battle of Ypres on 24 April2015. Tragically, Bede's younger brother Adrian also lost his lifeas a result of wounds sustained in the same Battle.
John Dickinson ("Dick") Bladon joined Rollit and Farrell in 1934and the Firm's name became Rollit Farrell and Bladon, a name whichstuck until 2001 when it was shortened to simply Rollits. A longperiod of expansion and growth through the latter half of the 20thcentury and the first 15 years of the 21st century brings the storyup to the present day.
Over time Rollits has occupied various premises within a stone'sthrow of each other in Hull's old town. The longest tenure was atCogan House and Cogan Chambers from 1878 to 1981, but the Firm hasalso operated from Elsworth House, Alfred Gelder Street in the late1960's, King William House in Market Place (1981 to 1991), LowgateHouse (1988 to 1991), Wilberforce Court on High Street (1991 to2016) and now from its brand new premises at Citadel House, HighStreet.
Rollits continues to provide commercial legal services from itsbases at Citadel House, High Street and Rowntree Wharf, York and isproud to be celebrating its 175th anniversary this year.
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