The year 2012 is not just the year of the London Olympic Games and doom-saying Mayan prophecies, it also marks the 250th anniversary of a law firm with a strong Bristol presence which can trace its roots directly back to the year 1762.
Facing severe issues arising from civic disorder and the problem of meeting demand for improved healthcare and education – in 1553, not 2012 – the English King at the time, Edward VI, was prevailed upon (by the Barons who worried at the threat this posed to their wealth) to create three hospitals. Bridewell Hospital was set up for the care of the “lazy and vagabond” whilst St Thomas’ Hospital was established for the care of the sick. Finally, Christ’s Hospital was founded to promote the education of young boys and girls in equal number.
The Bluecoat School at Christ’s Hospital was funded by the donation of money and substantial pieces of land. As ever, lawyers were appointed to look after land, and the Clerk to Christ’s Hospital, Joseph Eyre, who was appointed in 1760, became a lawyer in 1762. Some 250 years later, DAC Beachcroft, the successor practice to that founded by Joseph Eyre, continues to act for both Christ’s Hospital and St Thomas’ Hospital.
For those interested in such things, Joseph Eyre’s practice survived by itself until the mid-nineteenth century when it merged with London firm Maberlys & Beachcroft (est. 1828). The successor to that practice, Beachcrofts, then merged, in 1988, with the successor firm of Wasbrough and Stanley (est. 1830) to form Beachcroft Stanleys. Just two years after Beachcroft Stanleys was formed, the mergers of Wansbroughs in Bristol (est. 1882) and Willey Hargrave in Leeds (est. 1890) (who shared a joint-venture office in Birmingham) created Wansbroughs Willey Hargrave. A merger with Vaudreys in Manchester (est. 1879) followed in 1998 before, in 1999, they merged with Beachcroft Stanleys to create Beachcroft Wansbroughs. A re-brand to Beachcroft LLP followed in 2006, after which the firm acquired both Kings Legal and WHCG before, finally, merging with Davies Arnold Cooper to form DAC Beachcroft LLP in 2011.
Tony Cherry, Regional Senior Partner for the Bristol office, told Legal Life: “Though the first foundations of DAC Beachcroft were not in Bristol, the city has been woven through our history since 1830. Our most distinguished partner of recent years, Lord Hunt of Wirral, started his career here with Stanley Wasbrough in the nineteen sixties and Bristol remains perhaps the most popular of all our locations for people to live and work.”.