The origin of the Firm commenced on the 17th June 1953, under the practice name of John Tedstone, Solicitor, at 36 Darlington Street, Wolverhampton.
John Tedstone was then 26 years of age and had been educated at King Edward VI Grammar School, Stafford where he was Headboy. On leaving school he took Articles of Clerkship to train as a Solicitor with The Town Clerk of Stafford, Mr. T Broughton Nowell. John was conscripted into the army at the age of eighteen and served for three and a half years. He rose to the rank of Captain and spent two and a half years in India. When he left the army and returned to Stafford, John completed his articles with H. Wallace-Copeland in private practice.
John qualified as a Solicitor in June 1950 and soon took up a post of Assistant Solicitor with the firm of William Hadgkiss & Co. in Smethwick. John was a progressive and independent person, with a desire to succeed in his own right and he soon took the decision to commence business on his own.
And so it began: John chose to practice in Wolverhampton where he negotiated the lease of a suite of five offices at 36 Darlington Street, Wolverhampton. The offices were on the first and second floor above the Optician, Mr A. J. Moore at an annual rent of £175 payable quarterly in advance. The first tasks were to decorate the offices, lay some floor covering and furnish the premises ready for business.
On the 17th June 1953, some three days before his 27th birthday, John opened the door and put up his name plate, the original of which is held by his son Adam Tedstone as one of his treasures. John’s only staff member was his younger brother Robert who is still with the Firm more than 50 years later and who was, on that first day, proud to climb the stairs behind brother John. Robert’s main task that first morning was to do the dusting and make the tea, tasks which are still as important to this day.
From the beginning family and friends were most willing to give John the support he deserved and the very first client was a Mrs. Lily Salter, the mother- in- law of Giles Tedstone, who was moving to Stafford. Mrs. Salter received the first bill delivered by the firm for the amount of £38. John had also brought with him from his previous firm a difficult and complex factory accident claim case which was likely to go to the Assizes for trial. John had started and the Practice grew from these very small beginnings.
Soon Robert left to do his National Service and John was left to tackle every task from teapot to typewriter, as well as looking after the Clients. Due to the severe shortages of services, there was no telephone in the office and all phone calls were made from the phone box across the road. How times have changed! The profit of the Firm for the first year of trading was £5.19s.4d. The salary bill for that first year was £7.5s.3d.
John’s strength of personality and determination soon showed and he was respected by many in the judicial system as he began to appear in Court, often with no chance of payment and with very limited Legal Aid available. Towards the end of the first trading year John employed a part time typist - cleaner, a Mrs Mifflin, at a wage of £2.12s.21/2d per week, and not long after, a full time secretary at a salary of £3.2s.3d. per week. Robert returned from National Service and continued his training and within 5 years of starting John required an Assistant Solicitor. Ben George joined the firm on the 1st December 1958. Ben’s office was about 8 feet square and included the office safe!
A busy Court Practice had been built with strong support from the Probation Service, the Legal Aid authority and the Courts (with dock briefs). This support arose from a reputation of service to the Clients and looking after the under-dog and the underprivileged.
The Practice had grown and larger premises were needed. In November 1959, the Firm moved to 33 Waterloo Road, Wolverhampton. This was a much improved suite of offices (with a car park) situated in premises owned by the Ideal Benefit Society. The lease was for a term of seven years at an annual rent of £275. Ben George joined John as a Partner on the 17th June 1961 and the firm name was changed to Tedstone & George. Robert Tedstone qualified and on the 1st December 1962, he joined the Partnership giving the firm the name it has today: Tedstone George & Tedstone.
The practice had expanded in Wolverhampton and enjoyed a good Client base in Penkridge. John and Robert both still lived in Stafford and called each morning to Penkridge for their morning paper. Mr. Jim Phillips the Local Manager of Barclays Bank advised them that surplus accommodation was available above the Bank’s premises in Crown Bridge. Negotiations took place with the Bank’s main office and agreement was reached for the firm to take a Lease of the Premises for a term of five years at an annual rent of £150, subject to the Bank getting planning permission to convert the use of the accommodation from that of a manager’s flat to office premises. In September 1963 the Penkridge office opened with one secretary and the Partners calling each morning and evening.
Further expansion and growth took place and, on the 3rd September 1968, a branch office was opened at 8, St. Mary’s Grove Stafford. The very first new Client at this Office made a Will at a cost of £3.3s.0d. and the lady remained a client until her death in recent years.
The main office at 33 Waterloo Road Wolverhampton was the subject of a compulsory purchase order to make way for the new Ring Road. New premises were taken at 2 Tettenhall Road and the firm named the suite of offices “Lincoln Lodge” This name was taken from Lincoln Inn’s Fields, the centre of the Legal profession in London.
The growth of the Penkridge office prompted the firm to purchase the property known as “Top Corner”, Market Street Penkridge, in August 1975 for the sum of £14,500. This had been previously owned by a member of the Felthouse family. The move to Top Corner took place in January 1976 after some alterations and refurbishment by Frederick J. Rostance & Son Ltd.
The Lease of the Stafford premises could not be renewed on a long term basis due to the impending development of the Guildhall Shopping Centre and so a move to the other side of St. Mary’s Church to 1, St. Mary’s Place took place.
The premises which had stood for many years had before and during the war years been a Confectionery Shop, where home made ice cream was made, and it is more than likely that John and Robert Tedstone would have sampled their ice cream in their younger days.
Further expansion of the practice took place during the late 1970’s and early 1980’s with offices being opened in Wombourne under the name of Tedstone George & Dove and in Cannock under the name of Tedstone George & Jenkins.
John Tedstone, the founder of the firm died in January 1981, at the young age of 54 years. He had not been in good health for some time but his sudden death took its toll on the practice. His drive and inspiration and his appetite for hard work were missed immediately.
During the years of expansion, three Partners joined the firm, firstly John Dove in Wolverhampton, who later moved on to take a career in the quasi judicial field; secondly, Ian Wells in Stafford who left for a career in legal education at a university and, lastly, Paul Jenkins in Wolverhampton and Cannock who later took over the Cannock Office on his own.
By 1983 the Penkridge office was thriving and larger premises were needed. The Partners purchased the premises situate on Crown Bridge and known as “Eastbrook” and “Roslyn” from the Executors of the late Mrs. Hall, formerly Mrs. Hodson, at the price of £54,000. The Property at “Eastbrook” had been the home of Mr. and Mrs. Hall for many years prior to Mr. Hall’s death. “Roslyn”, had no bathroom, the toilet was across the yard and the kitchen was in a lean-to, had been tenanted at a weekly rent of one pound. Planning permission was obtained to convert the premises to Offices and under the direction of Architect, Mr Geoffrey Boon, the conversion was complete. The move from “Top Corner” took place in April 1984. “Top Corner” was sold to a Mr. Ray Roberts. Crown Bridge was further extended in 1988 when the wing on the East side was added.
Time had moved on and Ben George left the Practice in 1990 finally retiring in 1992 to take a well earned rest. Prior to his leaving, the Wolverhampton Office was sold to a larger firm with offices in the West Midlands. The Wombourne office had already closed and Paul Jenkins took over the Cannock office independently. The firm continued in Penkridge and Stafford and during this time a number of assistant solicitors helped to develop the firm and expand its reputation.
Adam Tedstone took articles with his Uncle Robert in July 1990 and qualified in September 1992 and joined in Partnership in October of that year to run the Stafford Office and assist at Penkridge. With the expansion of Penkridge as a thriving Market Town and the increased workload, the firm decided to concentrate their resources at Penkridge and the Stafford Office transferred its business to Crown Bridge with the premises at 1, St. Mary’s Place being retained in the family ownership and occupied by a Solicitor now trading as a Licensed Conveyancer.
In March 1998 Robert Tedstone retired as an Equity Partner and become a Consultant Solicitor, handing over to Adam the running of the Firm which had been started by his Father.
Created on Tuesday, February 5th, 2008 and was last updated on Wednesday, May 9th, 2012