On 1 April 1943 Gilbert Rowberry opened a law firm in Gloucester, under his name. This was, of course, during the war. He had one client and no money to pay the rent, which was due at the end of the month. Although the office was almost impossible to find, Gilbert Rowberry was fond of saying “If you preach a good sermon in the middle of a wood, the public will beat a path to your door.”
Sixteen years later, on 30 September 1958, his son Neil, aged 23, opened a new office in Reading in Friar Street. Neil’s brother, Anthony Rowberry, joined him as a partner a couple of years later.
The firm bought its current premises in Castle Street, Reading, in 1971 and renovated the building. Rowberry Morris were the only solicitors on the street at the time. The police station and Magistrates Court were opened soon after, which made the location attractive to other firms. Nowadays, with several other solicitors’ firms in Castle Street, it is dubbed ‘solicitors’ street’.
The building dates from the 1600s and is made from ship timbers. It is of significant historical importance. Once a year the office opens its doors to visitors with a keen interest in local culture and history. The buildings previous uses include an inn, a brewery and a doctor’s surgery. Some say it is haunted, although the friendly ghost has only been seen twice since Rowberry Morris acquired the premises.
Further offices were opened in the mid-60’s in Tadley, Crowthorne (now Rowberrys) and Staines. The firm originally offered mainly conveyancing transactions, later branching out into wills and probate, litigation and family matters. Rowberry Morris’ current senior partner, Rodney Edwards, joined the firm in 1978.
After his retirement, his connection with the firm continued: people still visited him at home and asked for his assistance. They were all referred to Rowberry Morris.
Both Rowberry brothers served on the Reading Council. Neil was also on the Berkshire Council at one stage. His building development company has also contributed to providing more than 300 new homes in the Reading area. The Rowberrys’ business sense, charisma and professionalism were second to none and most certainly contributed to us building such strong long-lasting relationships with our clients over time. We are a well known and highly respected in the Thames Valley and we boast a number of well-respected memberships and affiliations.
We take great pride in the achievements of our lawyers: two of our partners were appointed as full time judges and our former senior partner, Richard Leathem, holds two part time judicial appointments. Neil Rowberry was proud that “We never lost a client. 30 years on, my original clients were still with the firm”.