Time to remember

01/11/2018

On November 11 2018 it will be the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Armistice, which marked the end of The First World War.

Jenny Renshaw Litigation Employment SolicitorJennifer Renshaw, Head of Litigation at Lovedays Solicitors, examines the role played by the legal firm and some of its staff in the conflict and how this long-established firm of solicitors served the community both then and now.

Situated in the centre of Matlock on Bank Road, Lovedays Solicitors has a long history of serving the local community. Two other firms in the area – Potter & Co Solicitors and Andrew MacBeth Cash & Co Solicitors – share a similarly long history. More recently, all three firms have joined together under the single name of Lovedays Solicitors.

As November brings a time to reflect on the 100-year anniversary of the armistice, it has created a timely opportunity for the firm to examine some of the history of these law firms and the local community.

In a seldom-visited corner of the attic at one of the offices of Lovedays Solicitors lies a set of enormous and beautiful leather-bound editions f The High Peak News, the North and West Derbyshire weekly local circular, which some residents of the area may recall. The volumes contain issues of the newspaper dating back to the late 1800s. The newspaper carried everything that might be expected of a local paper adverts for local goods (soap and suet seem to dominate) and services, public notices, local news and forthcoming events. During the years of the Great War, however, its pages were filled with news from the Front and sadly, of course, far too many obituaries for young local men killed in action.

In remembering the one hundred years since the end of the First World War, the volumes covering the years 1914-1918 have made a poignant read. The war-time editions each bear, in the top left-hand corner, a small but moving reminder of far-away friends and family: “A piece of String and a Stamp will carry this to a Friend In the Trenches”.

One hundred years ago this month two Matlock law firms of Potter & Co Solicitors, established by James Potter, and Lovedays Solicitors, established by Charles Granville Heny, were preparing to welcome home staff, friends and family who had fought in the Great War. Heny’s (which later became Heny, Loveday and Keighley and is now known as Lovedays Solicitors) welcomed its Chief Clerk, Edward Milner, home from serving with the Sherwood Foresters’ Battalion in Mesopotamia.

Likewise, the father of the firm’s cashier, Capt Lewis Jacques, was awarded the MC and bar for service with the 10th Battalion of the Foresters in France.

James Potter of the firm J.S. Potter (which later became Potter, Brook-Taylor & Wildgoose, subsequently Potter & Co Solicitors and now known as Lovedays) would welcome home his cousin, Capt J W Potter, having been awarded the DSO for gallantry on 3rd October 1918 serving with 6th (Chesterfield) Batallion of The Sherwood Foresters.

The editions of The High Peak News from November 1918 bear witness to a community touched in every way by the war, but one that was dusting itself off and pressing on with the business of life. There were, of course, parties and dances but also plans for monuments to fallen soldiers and fund-raisers to buy commemorative guns for siting as permanent memorials in the area’s towns.

Thankfully, the need for the string and stamp had fallen away, but the need for community had not, and the Derbyshire community is still going strong today. Lovedays Solicitors, and its predecessor firms, have been providing legal services to that community for well over 100 years, and will continue to do so for many years to come.

Lovedays Solicitors are proud to carry on the tradition of supporting those touched by the war. This November Lovedays are supporting the British Legion Poppy Appeal and we welcome everyone to our Poppy Appeal coffee morning on Friday 9th November from 10.00 – 12.00.

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