John Midgley (1942-2009)

Gaby Hardwicke Partner John Midgley.John Michael Midgley was born in Hastings on 30 March 1942 and was a son of the local Registrar of Births, Deaths & Marriages. He attended Hastings Grammar School, on Nelson Road, where he distinguished himself as a top scholar.

He started his legal career at the Bexhill office of Gaby Hardwicke as an articled clerk to partner George Herbert, with whom he travelled by steam train each day from Hastings to arrive at the office for 9:45am. His first day of work at the firm (aged just 16) was 6 October 1958.

Senior Partner Allen Hardwicke agreed to waive the usual premium for Mr Midgley’s Articles of Clerkship, which meant he received no salary for the first year and £5-per-week in the second.

Mr Midgley was admitted as a Solicitor of the Supreme Court in January 1964, which makes him one of the youngest to qualify as such, achieving distinctions in his finals (rare in those days) in tax and company law. He would work at Gaby Hardwicke for over 50 years and became Senior Partner upon George Herbert’s death and Jethro Arscott’s retirement from the partnership in 1986.

Mr Midgley was a popular and highly respected figure within the local community. He joined Bexhill Round Table in 1963, later served as its Chairman and then as Sussex Area Chairman. After Table he joined Senlac Rotary and served for 18 years as a governor of Bedgebury School and also as a governor of Bexhill College, his intimate knowledge of both the private and state sectors of education being of great value to both institutions. Latterly, he was a trustee of the Sarah Lee Trust and a trustee of the De La Warr Pavilion. His untimely death in 2009 was deeply felt by the many people who knew him, and left a void in the Sussex legal community.

John Midgley’s passing was not the end of the Midgley family’s connection with Gaby Hardwicke, however. His son Jonathan Midgley, who became a partner in the firm in 1998, continues to keep John’s legacy alive with his own sterling private client work.

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