About HTW

About us

As the oldest firm of solicitors based in the town we are proud to having been serving the people and businesses of Rochdale for over 270 years by providing a first class legal service.

The Firm’s existence can be traced back to as long ago as 1745 from documents found in the Firm's archives in the early 1970s by Mr Wright the then Senior Partner. Although there are many gaps in the Firm’s History, Trade Directories at the local Reference Library show a Mr Harris, Solicitor in practice in Rochdale in the early 1800s and a photograph of our offices at Town Hall Chambers, dating from 1866, shows "Harris Solicitors" in occupation on the top floor. In 1866, the building was in multi-occupancy and the ground floor was in fact the Post Office. The 1866 photograph can be seen in our Reception area.

The local Trade Directories also show in the later 1800s a Mr Hartley in practice in Rochdale and it was this Mr Hartley who subsequently took over the Practice of Mr Harris. A number of the members of the Hartley family then continued the Practice under a variety of names e.g. Hartley Son and Osbourne (1888) and later Hartley Son & Coupe until shortly after the outbreak of World War II, when the Practice was purchased by Mr Charles Henry Thomas from the then surviving member of the Hartley family. Mr Albert Wright had already joined the Firm, initially as an office junior but later became an Articled Clerk. The running of the Practice and Mr Wright’s articles (now called a Training Contract) were interrupted by the outbreak of World War II, during which time Mr Wright served in the Royal Navy and Mr Thomas was called up to do Army Service in time for the D-Day Landings. After the end of World War II, both Mr Thomas and Mr Wright returned to the Practice and Mr Wright subsequently qualified and became a Partner, since which time the Firm has been known as Hartley Thomas & Wright.

Over the years there were many changes up to 1979 which saw the retirement, as a Partner, of Mr C H Thomas and Mr Peter Battle due to his ill health. Mr Wright carried on as a sole practitioner until 1979 when Peter A. Riley joined the Firm as an assistant Solicitor, becoming a Partner in 1980. Roger G. Addington joined the Practice in 1982 as an assistant solicitor to replace Mr Battle, who had then totally retired and in November 1982, Mr Wright retired from the Partnership, leaving Peter Riley to continue as a sole practitioner. In 1983, Roger Addington was taken into Partnership and Mr Thomas and Mr Wright remained as consultants with the Firm.

In January 2003 The Firm acquired the long established Rochdale practice of Rhodes and Co., and the services of J. Philip Tattersall as a Consultant thereby expanding the Client base and expertise of the Firm. Paul Kidd became a partner in 2012.

The Firm has always been in the nature of a general practice throughout its long history, but the present Partners have always been aware of the need for increasing specialisation and diversification of activities. With this in mind the Practice has been developed from a predominantly conveyancing and probate practice in order to provide a full range of legal services and expertise.