- Blandy & Blandy LLP Celebrates Landmark
Blandy & Blandy LLP celebrates its 285th anniversary in 2018, making it one of the region’s oldest firms and among the 25 oldest law firms in the UK.
Needless to say, much has changed during that time. In the early 18th century writers describe Reading as having a population of under 5,000, a figure that had doubled by the time of the first census in 1801. The wider Reading area’s current population is estimated to be 330,000, making the town larger than many UK cities, including Belfast and Newcastle. In that time, Henley-on-Thames' population has increased more than fourfold to over 11,000. The town prospered in the 17th and 18th centuries thanks to the manufacture of glass and malt and the trade in corn and wool.
The firm was founded in 1733. John Blandy took the lease of 1 Friar Street, which remains the firm’s main office in Reading today, in December 1798 at a rent of 4 pounds. Blandy & Blandy pre dates other notable Reading businesses including Simmonds Brewery (1785), Suttons Seeds (1807) and Huntley and Palmer (1822) and institutions such as the Royal Berkshire Hospital (1839), Reading Gaol (1844) and the University of Reading (1860).
Evolution and growth
Today Blandy & Blandy has two offices in Reading and an office in Henley-on-Thames following the 2016 acquisition of the business of Collins Dryland & Thorowgood LLP. The firm also maintains a client office in London.
The firm continues to grow, having recently welcomed several new faces to its team, which is now home to 110 staff, approximately half of whom are lawyers.
Reputation and expertise
Blandy & Blandy is Reading’s only top tier firm for ‘private wealth law’ according to the latest edition of Chambers HNW Guide and the only firm in the town to be top ranked for Family law in both The Legal 500 and Chambers UK Guide.
Commercially the firm’s expertise lies in advising banks and lenders, large and fast growing SMEs and owner-managed businesses, charities and educational institutions, landowners and developers and high profile venue and event operators. Every department in the firm is recognised in one or both legal directories, while all of the firm's partners and the majority of its associate solicitors are ranked in at least of the guides.
Blandy & Blandy is very much a part of both towns’ futures as much as it is of their history, advising prominent local names including Reading Borough Council, the University of Reading and Reading Transport Group, clients on high profile locations such as the new Thames Tower, Reading Station and Thames Valley Science Park and in relation to some of the region’s largest residential and mixed use developments. On the private client side, the firm continues to act for a growing number of private individuals throughout their lifetimes and indeed to advise many families and business across several generations.
Having donated over £50,000 to local charities in a three year period, Blandy & Blandy is committed to supporting local charities, having previously ‘adopted’ causes including Reading Samaritans, Berkshire Vision, Thames Valley Air Ambulance, Daisy’s Dream, Younger People with Dementia and Camp Mohawk, alongside taking part in and/or sponsoring high profile local fundraising events such as the Reading Pancake Race, Reading Legal Walk and Reading Santa Run.
Chairman Brenda Long commented: “Reading and Henley continue to be exciting and thriving towns to be a part of and with the advent of Crossrail and ongoing town centre developments, they look set to continue to grow. There is still a real air of positivity in the region, despite any uncertainty, among businesses and in relation to both the commercial and residential property markets. We will be toasting our 285th anniversary and the firm’s history and longevity at our annual summer garden party and Christmas drinks but our focus remains on a bright and exciting future”.