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Stephenson Harwood & Tatham

Solicitors

STEPHENSON HARWOOD & TATHAM

The Firm was founded in 1828 by William Tatham, who started in practice on his own at 40 Dorset Square, Marylebone.

It is, however, possible, that the firm originated in the 18th century and that his uncle John Tatham, who was born in 1767 and admitted in 1793, was the original founder. John Tatham practised under his own name and appeared to change his Office with some frequency. His address was at 5 Lower Temple Lane (1793-1800), Harcourt Buildings, Temple (1800-1802), 1 Hare Court, Temple (1802-1805), 21 Essex Street, Strand (1805-1806), 4 Craven Street, Strand (1806-1824), 27 Golden Square (1824-1827) and at 8 Sherrard Street, Golden Square from 1828 until his death at 24 Dorset Place in August, 1829, which latter address is in the immediate vicinity of 40 Dorset Square, where William Tatham started his practice in 1828. William Tatham was articled in 1823 for five years to a certain Richard Smith, but there is no evidence of any professional connection between Richard Smith and John Tatham. In these circumstances, unless and until further evidence comes to light, traditional legal caution precludes any definite claim that John Tatham was the original founder.

In any event, in 1833 William Tatham was joined by Augustus Vigne, the name of the firm then being changed to Tatham & Vigne. They continued in practice together and moved to 50 Lime Street, in the City of London, where in 1835 William Tatham took an active part in the legal formalities connected with the foundation of The National Bank Limited, a part of whose premises he was later to occupy. In 1838, however, Vigne left the Firm and nothing further is known of him. [It seems he simply retired, as he is described from then on as a Fund Holder. Augustus and his wife Caroline lived at 16 Pembridge Place, Bayswater, and for a time at The Park, Sydenham. He died aged 67 on 09 Oct 1875, in a public cab whilst being conveyed from York Rd, Lambeth, to St Thomas' Hospital. His effects were valued at under 35,000. William Tatham was one of his executors.] William Tatham changed his office again in 1841 to 32 Throgmorton Street, where he remained until 1862, when he took a Lease of part of the building comprising 16 & 17 Old Broad Street, which was and still is owned by The National Bank Limited.

William Tatham was joined in 1865 by his son William Junior, who was born in 1837 and admitted as a Solicitor in 1864, the practice continuing at the same address, the name of the firm then becoming Wm. Tatham & Son.

In 1874, Algernon Tatham, a younger brother of William Junior, who was born in 1848 and admitted in 1871, joined the firm, the name being changed to Wm. Tatham & Sons.

In 1879, however, at the early age of 41, William Junior died, and the practice was continued by his father and brother, reverting back to the earlier name Wm. Tatham & Son.

In 1885 Herbert George Lousada became a partner and the Firm continued under the name of Tatham, Son & Lousada.

H. G. Lousada was born in 1846 and was the son of G. E. B. Lousada (a Stockbroker, generally known on the Stock Exchange as "Dismal Jimmy") . He was admitted in 1870 and before joining the Firm was in Partnership with Edward Janverin Emanuel, under the name of Lousada & Emanuel. They practised at 15 Austin Friars, and from 1882 apparently also had an office in Paris; and when E. J. Emanuel retired in 1885, H. G. Lousada, as mentioned previously, joined Wm. Tatham & Son.

In 1890 William Tatham retired from the Firm and the Partnership was continued by his son Algernon and H. G. Lousada under the name of Tatham & Lousada. William Tatham (Senior) died in 1896.

In 1897, H. G. Lousada acquired Algernon Tatham's interest in the Firm, but no public intimation of the fact was to be made for three years, or until the earlier payment of the purchase monies. During that period, Algernon Tatham was entitled to continue to use his room in order that he couid carry on business with certain of his Clients. Shortly afterwards, however, H. G. Lousada paid over the purchase monies to Algernon Tatham and became the sole Partner. Algernon Tatham died in 1910.

In 1901, H. G. Lousada took his son Julian George and also Percival Charles Fawcett into Partnership. The Firm continued under the same name, Tatham & Lousada.

In 1918, H. G. Lousada died in harness at the age of 72, and the Partnership was carried on by the two remaining partners, J. G. Lousada and P. C. Fawcett. The two partners, however, found themselves under-partnered and short-staffed for the volume of work which they had to do. At the same time, their landlords. The National Bank Limited, required part of the Firm's accommodation for the expanding needs of the Bank and were also anxious to carry out extensive rebuilding and modernizing of the building, including the provision of two extra floors. The space offered was, however, in excess of the needs of the Firm, and accordingly the Partners determined to seek another Firm with whom amalgamation could take place with a view to sharing the work and accommodation. As a result, arrangements were concluded with the Firm of Stephenson Harwood & Co., who had about this time received notice from their landlords at 31 Lombard Street - having occupied the premises there since 1878- that the accommodation was needed by the landlords for their own use.

The Firm of Stephenson Harwood & Co. was founded by William Harwood, who was born in 1845 and was admitted as a Solicitor in 1867. He started practice in Shanghai, where he remained for eight years, returning to England in 1875 and practising on his own in the City at 29 New Broad Street. William brought with him an important regional connection, the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation - and indeed, HSBC remains a major client of the firm to this day. In 1877 William Harwood was joined by Henry Goodwyn Stephenson, the name of the Firm becoming Harwood & Stephenson. In 1878 the Firm moved to 31 Lombard Street, which remained the Firm's address for forty-two years until, on the amalgamation in 1920 with Tatham & Lousada, the Offices at 31 Lombard Street were relinquished and the Firm moved to 16 Old Broad Street.

As a result of the amalgamation in 1920, the Firm became Stephenson Harwood & Tatham, even though there had been no Tatham among the partners since Algernon's withdrawal in 1897.

It was not until 1977 that the name was shortened back to Stephenson Harwood. The firm's international expansion began shortly afterwards with the opening of its Hong Kong office in 1979. From the early 1990s new offices were created in Guangzhou (1994), Piraeus (1996), Singapore (1996) and Paris (2001). In 2002, it merged with Sinclair Roche & Temperley, thus re-establishing its presence in Shanghai. In 2010 Stephenson Harwood had over 90 partners and 500 staff worldwide.

Sources:
Sir John Witt, History of Stephenson, Harwood & Tatham, abt 1970;
Stephenson Harwood website accessed 09 Feb 2010;
Wilfrid George Tatham, A Note on the Tathams of Tatham & Lousada, 30 Apr 1959


Linked toAlgernon Tatham; William Tatham; William Tatham

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