Our history - an overview

Gaby Hardwicke staff from days gone by.

Dr Frederick Goodwin founded the firm in Hastings in 1889 and was joined in practice by Ralph Gaby three years later. Dr Goodwin retired from the partnership in 1894 and Mr Gaby continued alone until a temporary merger with Mr Stapylton-Smith, which continued into the Great War. After the war Mr Gaby was joined in partnership by Allen Hardwicke.

By 1921, under the style ‘Gaby and Hardwicke’, the partners had opened a Bexhill office at 3a Sea Road, almost opposite the railway station. Ralph Gaby died in 1927 and the firm’s name subsequently changed to ‘Gaby, Hardwicke and Evans-Vaughan’, ‘Gaby, Hardwicke, Evans-Vaughan and Bubear’ and then ‘Gaby, Hardwicke & Co’ as new partners joined the fold. In 1940 partners Evans-Vaughan, Bubear and Baldry left the practice and Allen Hardwicke continued alone.

The Hastings office (2 Cambridge Road) closed in 1940 due to bomb damage and was temporarily run from the managing clerk H. E. Thomas’s home in St Leonards. After the war, Jack Baldry rejoined Allen Hardwicke in practice and the pair were later joined by new partners George Herbert and Jethro Arscott. Upon Mr Hardwicke’s death in 1965, Mr Baldry retired from the partnership and Mr Herbert and Mr Arscott continued the firm.

In 1964 John Midgley, who had joined the firm as an articled clerk in 1958 at age 16, was admitted as a Solicitor of the Supreme Court. 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.

After Mr Midgley's untimely death in 2009, Peter Taylor, who had joined the firm as an articled clerk in 1965, continued as Managing Partner (a position he had held since 1995). In 2012 Mr Taylor moved to a senior consultancy role and David Young, who had joined the firm as an articled clerk in 1986, became Senior Partner.

During the last few decades Gaby Hardwicke has merged with other, smaller, local firms such as Yearwood & Griffiths, R. E. Mitchell & Co, Eaton Sagar, Langhams, Temple Bird and Morgan & Lamplugh. We opened our Cooden office in 1978, our Eastbourne headquarters in 1985, and our Hastings office in 1999 on the merger with Eaton Sagar.

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