History of Royds
It was in October 1904 that Sir Edmund Royds, whose portrait now resides in the staff room at Carter Lane, moved the practice, which had been known under various names since the 1830s, to 46 Bedford Square, Holborn and reconstituted the firm under the name of Royds & Rawstorne. Word has it that the painter of the portrait was a hard up Baronet who gave Sir Edmund the portrait in lieu of his legal fees! Never a firm to turn down a reasonable offer - Sir Edmund accepted. On looking at the portrait, a small scar can be seen on the right-hand side of Sir Edmund’s face. This was caused by a misdirected leg drive by an articled clerk playing indoor cricket in the Senior Partner’s room at 46 Bedford Square. After this shaky start in life, Sir Edmund went on to become a successful solicitor with the firm!
Although the firm bears the name of Royds, it is an amalgamation of many firms which, over the past 100 years, have come together to form the current practice. Those firms have an equally illustrious and long history.
Moving on in time to 1974, Royds Rawstorne & Co. and Barfield & Hubbard merged together. Barfield Hubbard was itself an amalgamation of several practices. Some of the then existing partners of Barfield Hubbard, Owen Barfield, philosopher and friend of CS Lewis, Cedric Reynolds, Simon Beazley and Joe Hale, joined forces with George Constantinidi and Arthur Alexander to form Royds Barfield.
Following on from this the firm’s focus changed from being a principally private client practice to a commercial practice. Then in 1982 the firm moved offices to 2 Crane Court in the City.
In 1990 the firm once again increased in size when they joined with Lake Perry & Treadwell (a practice based in Pall Mall) with partners Brian Godfrey and Judge Richard Jacey. At this point the firm adopted the name Royds Treadwell.
The firm was further strengthened in 1995 when it took in the partners of Pickering Kenyon, one of whom was Peter Wootton. The Pickering Kenyon practice was reputed to be one of the oldest legal practices in the UK dating back to the 1560s.
Moving forward in time to 2001, the firm amalgamated with Rayner de Wolfe, a firm started by Stephen Rayner who was then joined by Clarence de Wolfe, John North, John Cassidy and Alan Finlay. Rayner de Wolfe brought with them a commercial practice and membership of the Interleges, an association of international law firms with members stretching from Mexico City to Kiev.
The firm rebranded in 2004 and changed its name to ‘Royds’ to mark its 100th anniversary.
Christopher Wright, who was Chairman of the firm at that time, said that he well remembered being interviewed for a job in 1967 in the senior partner’s room in Bedford Square when he noticed grand tin boxes marked with the illustrious names of the aristocracy and landed gentry but being particularly impressed by two boxes, one marked with the name of the Persian Oil Co. and the other the Kingdom of Morocco.
The firm has also acted from early days for businesses which are now substantial players in the sectors they operate in such as:
- Christie & Co. - the leading commercial agents for the hotel and licensed premises trade and in the retail and health care sectors;
- Monsoon - the high street fashion retailers which we have acted for since Robert Lloyd-Davies bought the first Monsoon shop for the company’s founder Peter Simon;
- Rotary Watches - the largest selling watch brand in the UK market whose chairman is Robert Dreyfuss
We also act for a number of large international companies such as:
- Air France
- Air India
- State Bank of India
- Bank of India
and for the Governments of:
In addition our charity clients include:
- Catholic charities
- The Chartered Management Institute, the country’s leading management membership organisation
Please click here for further information about our clients.
The partners see their relationship with their clients as being for life not just ‘here today, gone tomorrow hence our ‘Partners for Life’ philosophy. This is reflected in that many of our private clients are descendants of many of the families who were clients of Edmund Royds over 100 years ago. In addition, over the past one hundred years we have looked after many individual families for several generations and we have nurtured small businesses to grow into major enterprises.
One of the firm’s more notable claims to fame is that we were involved in the creation of the London Eye, the Millennium Wheel, which dominates the London skyline. This was conceived and designed by our clients, the architects David Marks and Julia Barfield.
At the beginning of October 2007, Royds converted to LLP status and moved from Crane Court in Fleet Street into new offices at 65 Carter Lane located close to St. Paul’s Cathedral in the heart of the City.
The Firm is now a commercial law practice providing specialist expertise and practical legal advice at competitive rates to a wide range of commercial organisations and individual clients, operating in many sectors. We see ourselves as forward thinking and look to achieve excellence in the quality of work that we produce for our clients. With our ‘Partners for Life’ philosophy our aim is to develop a lifetime partnership with our clients that can be relied upon for business as well as personal affairs.
Having now been established for over 100 years we have grown to be a medium sized law firm with currently 17 partners and a total of 70 staff spread over two offices, the head office being at 65 Carter Lane and a small office located in Morden, Surrey.
Please contact us for further information.