Celebrating 175 Years

In 1841 the first edition of Punch magazine was published, Robert Peel became Prime Minister, and the Penny Black stamp was replaced by the Penny Red. Also, here in Hull, a young Solicitor called John Rollit began practising law with his Partner William Dryden. The Firm was called Dryden Sons & Rollit.

In 1850 Rollit, the son of a cabinet maker, set up business on his own at 62 Whitefriargate and soon after welcomed his two sons Albert and Arthur to the Partnership now called Rollit and Sons.

The Firm began to grow rapidly. Albert served two terms as Lord Mayor of Hull, served as MP for Islington, and  was knighted in 1885. The same year his wife, Lady Eleanor died at the early age of 31. A Lady Mayoress dying in office was unprecedented and Eleanor was afforded a civic funeral, its cortege witnessed by a crowd of over 20,000 citizens of Hull. Eleanor is remembered to this day with a portrait and bust on display in The Guildhall.

Thomas Farrell had joined the Rollits in 1878, and the same year the Firm took a lease of the newly built Cogan House in Bowlalley Lane. 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, now trading as Rollit and Farrell. Both men saw service in the Great War and unfortunately Bede was not to return to Hull, having been killed by enemy fire at the Second Battle of Ypres on 24 April 2015. Tragically, Bede's younger brother Adrian also lost his life as a result of wounds sustained in the same Battle.

John Dickinson ("Dick") Bladon joined Rollit and Farrell in 1934 and the Firm's name became Rollit Farrell and Bladon, a name which stuck until 2001 when it was shortened to simply Rollits. A long period of expansion and growth through the latter half of the 20th century and the first 15 years of the 21st century brings the story up to the present day.

Over time Rollits has occupied various premises within a stone's throw of each other in Hull's old town. The longest tenure was at Cogan House and Cogan Chambers from 1878 to 1981, but the Firm has also operated from Elsworth House, Alfred Gelder Street in the late 1960's, King William House in Market Place (1981 to 1991), Lowgate House (1988 to 1991), Wilberforce Court on High Street (1991 to 2016) and now from its brand new premises at Citadel House, High Street.

Rollits continues to provide commercial legal services from its bases at Citadel House, High Street and Rowntree Wharf, York and is proud to be celebrating its 175th anniversary this year.

Posted on: 09/06/2016

This article is for general guidance only. It provides useful information in a concise form. Action should not be taken without obtaining specific legal advice.

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