There are not many firms of Chartered Accountants which can trace their history back to the beginnings of the recognised accountancy profession, but Simpson Wreford LLP can do just that.
On 8th July 1886, Ernest William Ellis Blandford became an Associate of the Society of Incorporated Accountants and Auditors. He commenced his practice from Gresham House, Old Broad Street, EC2.
In 1894 he had as his assistant, George Lawrence, and in 1896 took him into partnership. In that year Mr Blandford was elected a Member of Council, a position which he held in various capacities until 1925.
Blandford and Lawrence were joined by their clerk James Hann in 1905 and they practised together, not only from Gresham House, but also from Herne Bay and Whitstable, until 1920, when Lawrence and Hann left the partnership.
Mr Blandford was joined in 1923 by Marmaduke Widdowson and Roland Simpson and in 1926 they moved to new premises in Capel House, New Broad Street.
Mr Blandford retired in 1928 and died in 1929. Widdowson and Simpson continued in partnership until 1933, when they moved offices to Bank Chambers in High Holborn and were joined by John Wreford, who had been their clerk.
In the intervening years Mr Widdowson retired and in 1935 the firm became known as Simpson Wreford & Co.
In 1957 the society of Incorporated Accountants merged with the Institute of Chartered Accountants to become one professional body. John Cuthbert and John Richards were admitted as partners after the war, but by the time the practice had moved to Temple Chambers in 1964 they both had left the practice. Mr Simpson died in 1969 after 40 years’ service.
Kenneth Saunders, Stanley Collins and Michael Wood had all become partners in 1962, and were joined soon after by Ian McNeil and Anthony Askew. Stanley Collins stayed until 1969. Through the sixties other branch offices were opened at Woolwich, Plumstead, Hove, Eastbourne and Chatham, as well as a small office at Lewisham. In 1972 Basingstoke was purchased.
The City office remained headquarters until 1972, when, after much consideration it was decided to move to Lewisham. Mr Wreford retired in 1974, and he too had over 40 years’ service.
The seventies saw a change in policy and a gradual consolidation. The small offices were sold and effort was concentrated at Woolwich, Lewisham and Basingstoke. On the death of Michael Wood in 1982 the latter office was closed in order that the Woolwich and Lewisham offices should be strengthened. In this period, Andrew Portis, Nicholas Hunwick and David Hood joined the practice.
The partners had some irreconcilable differences in the early 1990s and the business split into two - Simpson Wreford LLP became based just in Woolwich. Carl Graham was by this time a partner, having joined the firm as a junior. The other partners were Ken Saunders and Andrew Portis.
In October 2005 the firm moved to brand new offices in the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich. Shortly after the move Andrew Portis retired and was replaced by Andrew Wilson. After a few years of settling in the new offices, the firm took over a small local firm called Blanche & Co, adding several staff and increasing turnover.
In 2012 Ryan Taylor and Kate Taylor were made partners, having both joined the firm as trainees. Not long after this Kenneth Saunders stepped down to become a consultant to the firm, after more than 50 years as a Partner.
Most recently Michael Broder has also become a partner.
Currently the firm has over 35 staff and many clients, some of whom have been with the practice for more than 30 years.
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