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Tilly Bailey & Irvine Celebrate 30 Years in Barnard Castle

View profile for Helen Dexter
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As it celebrates 30 years, our Barnard Castle Office seeks wedding day pictures from its premises’ past!

In 2015, Tilly Bailey & Irvine Solicitors Barnard Castle Office celebrates its 30th anniversary, having taken over law firm Messrs Watsons in April, 1985.

As it looks back on its time in Barnard Castle, and its predecessor’s history in the town, it’s asking Teesdale residents if they would share wedding photographs taken at the office at 8 Newgate which was, for many years until 1997, the town’s Register Office.

Tilly Bailey & Irvine Law Firm took over from William Innes Watson, the last in a line of Watsons who had provided legal services in Barnard Castle for 168 years since 1817.  With Tilly Bailey & Irvine’s 30 years included, the business has been providing legal services to Teesdale for nearly 200 years.  Furthermore, the firm still practices in the purpose-built offices at 8 Newgate, built in 1865 when the family firm had outgrown its original premises at numbers 10 and 12 Market Place.

The original founder of Watsons was William Watson, the ambitious 10th child of draper John Watson, and his wife Elizabeth Crawford.  In 1817, aged 23, he qualified as an Attorney-at-Law, and a Solicitor in Chancery, and took over the Barnard Castle law firm of William Hutchinson who had died a few years earlier.

Watsons was very much a family firm.  William Watson’s nephew, also named William Watson, joined him in the law firm, around 1840.    His brother, George Watson, also joined the firm, as eventually did the founder’s son, William James Watson, and later his son Harry Crawford Watson.  It was Harry Crawford Watson’s eldest son, William Innes Watson, who was the last family member in the firm.  He took over the firm from his father in 1934.

Tilly Bailey & Irvine, like Messrs Watsons before it, is committed to supporting the local community.  Solicitor, Ian Cowan is a director of the Auction Mart, and the firm sponsors an auction each year.  The firm also has a long-standing relationship with Barnard Castle Cricket Club, helping the club continue its success, and the Castle Players have also been supported by Tilly Bailey & Irvine Solicitors for a number of years.

Partners Helen Dexter and Brian Farrell are both based in the Barnard Castle office.  Brian is a well-known face locally, and a well-respected solicitor in Teesdale having practiced in Barnard Castle since 1981.  Solicitor Ian Cowan not only combines working on his family farm in Weardale with his work for Tilly Bailey & Irvine Solicitors, but also brings a wealth of first-hand experience into his service to the agricultural community.

Helen Dexter commented: “We have a great team here in Barnard Castle, who bring a wealth of knowledge and experience, all of which benefits our clients.  Additionally, having the Tees Valley’s largest full service law firm behind us means that our clients can tap into an incredible breadth of legal expertise.”

“We’re enjoying reflecting on our 30 years in Barnard Castle, as well as the history of our predecessor’s firm.  We are keen to find pictures from the building’s past, ones which show marriage celebrations in the Newgate Register Office, and would love also to hear people’s stories of a building and firm which have been at the heart of the community for nearly 200 years.”