Ginn & Co is the oldest unmerged law firm in Cambridge, having provided bespoke legal advice to individuals, businesses and college institutions for 140 years.
Our history could fill a space much larger than the one you are looking at, but here are a few highlights.
Samuel Reuben Ginn, the son of a St Ives solicitor, established the practice in Alexandra Street, Petty Cury.
He distinguished himself as a solicitor and was appointed to several important civic roles. He was elected to serve St Matthew's Ward in 1891 for the Liberal Party and was Mayor of Cambridge from 1897 to 1898. He was a Deputy Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire and a Justice of the Peace. During the First World War, he administered the Prince of Wales' National Relief Fund. He was also Lord of the Manors of Fen Ditton, Harston and Haslingfield, and Farcet in Huntingdonshire.
Samuel Ginn moved his practice to new offices at 64 St Andrew's Street and was appointed solicitor to the Cambridge Street Tramway Company. In 1880, he succeeded in obtaining parliamentary approval for the Company to extend the tramway system.
George Alfred Matthew joined Samuel Ginn to form the partnership of Ginn & Matthew, and the firm moved next door to number 63. Matthew had attended St John's College, Cambridge, and served as President of the Cambridgeshire Law Society. He was married to Norah Eaden Lilley, the daughter of the proprietor of the well-known Cambridge Department Store, W. Eaden Lilley & Co, for whom the firm acted.
Ginn & Matthew continued to attract more business clients. We acted on behalf of Chivers & Sons – jam makers of Histon, Hudson's Cambridge and Pampisford Breweries Ltd.
Hudson's owned many of Cambridge's popular pubs some of which still exist today, and in 1898 Samuel Ginn assisted them in obtaining a £75,000 secured loan.
Geoffrey Garland Goodman, a law graduate of Pembroke College, Cambridge, joined the partnership. He remained a partner for 47 years until his death in 1950, and had the difficult task of guiding the firm through the terrible events of both World Wars.
We assisted William Unwin of Histon in forming his company that became the world-famous Unwins Seeds.
After returning to work from the Christmas festivities, George Matthew died suddenly in his office aged 49. We changed the name of the practice to Ginn & Co.
Dennis Barton Ginn, Samuel's son, was admitted as a partner after completing his law degree at Trinity Hall, Cambridge. Shortly after, John Edward Few who had read law at King's College, Cambridge, was admitted as a partner. Few had built up a reputation for his knowledge of Agricultural Law and lectured at the University.
During the First World War, Captain Dennis Barton Ginn served in Dardanelles at the battle of Gallipoli and in Egypt, Palestine and France.
In June 1919, Few left the partnership to form his own practice.
Dennis Barton Ginn's second son, Benjamin Dennis Skelton Ginn, was born. He went on to become Major ‘Skelly’ Ginn, who used his electrical engineering skills to help mastermind some of the most daring escape attempts from Colditz and other German prisoner of war camps during the Second World War.
Our founder, Samuel Reuben Ginn, died aged 82, leaving an estate valued at some £5.5 million today with 150 acres of land in Huntingdonshire. He rewarded his loyal clerks at the firm with a bequest of £200 each, around £12,000 today. Dennis Barton Ginn succeeded his father as senior partner until his own death in 1938 aged 59.
Samuel Marsland Ginn, took over the mantle as partner. Like his father, he had read law at Trinity Hall, Cambridge. Shortly after becoming a partner, he served in the Second World War.
On 3 December 1944, Major Samuel Marsland Ginn was killed in action, aged 32, at Venray in the Netherlands. He was the last Ginn to work at the firm.
Eric John Gipson Wright became a partner. He was from March in the Isle of Ely, and had been articled to Geoffrey Garland Goodman in 1930. Eric and Geoffrey expanded the firm after the War, and relocated our offices to the newly built neo-Georgian, Sidney House on Sussex Street – where we still work today.
Ginn & Co instructed Donald Keating QC in the famous Mitchell v East Anglia Regional Health Board Administration case. They won the case, which at 239-days-long still features in the Guinness book of Records as the longest commercial arbitration.
Mr Clive Nicholas Lane was admitted as a partner and remained till 2001, when he was appointed to the judiciary. In 2009 the Lord Chancellor, The Right Honourable Jack Straw MP, appointed him to be a Senior Immigration Judge of the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal.
Ginn & Co was awarded Lexcel accreditation which is the legal quality mark awarded by the Law Society.
The firm secures victory in the Supreme Court in the case of Hayes v Willoughby where our client was the victim of an irrational harraser.
List of partners from 1873
Samuel Reuben Ginn (1873–1932)
George Alfred Matthew (1882–1905)
Geoffrey Garland Goodman (1903–1950)
Denis Barton Ginn (1906–1938)
John Edward Few (1907–1919)
Samuel Marsland Ginn (1938–1944) Killed in action
Eric John Gipson Wright (1939–1971)
Geoffrey Edwin Smart (1951–1989)
David James Tempest Miller (1961–1990)
James Andrew Holme (1974–2000)
Clive Nicholas Lane (1987–2001)
Jill Hinton Jones (1991–2006)
Madeline Barham (2001– )
Jonathan Peter Copper (2001– )