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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): LMA/4537
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1685-1999
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 21.43 linear metres
Name of creator(s): Green and Ashurst | 1823-1829 x Ashurst and Gainsford | 1835-1840 x Ashurst and Son | 1843-1864 x Ashurst and Morris | 1864-1865 x Ashurst Morris and Company | 1865-1877 x Ashurst Morris Crisp and Company | 1877-2003 x Ashurst LLP | 2003-


Administrative/Biographical history:

The firm was established in 1822 when William Henry Ashurst set up practice as a solicitor at 2 Sambrook Court, Basinghall Street, London. In 1823, he went into partnership with William Henry Green under the name 'Green and Ashurst'. The partnership lasted until 1829, when Ashurst moved to 84 Newgate Street to practise alone. In 1835, Ernest Barnevelt Elliott Gainsford became a partner and the new partnership 'Ashurst and Gainsford' set up office at 137 Cheapside. However, the partnership only lasted five years, and Ashurst once again practised alone, significantly spending a year as solicitor to the Mercantile Committee helping Rowland Hill succeed in reforming the postal system. In 1843, Ashurst decided to make his son William Henry Ashurst Junior a partner under the style 'Ashurst and Son'. The firm moved to 6 Old Jewry in 1854 and remained there until 1890.

Although William Henry Ashurst devoted much time to his legal practice, he was also very involved in the politics of the day. Notably, he campaigned for the passing of the Reform Bill in 1832, abolition of church rates and number of other causes. He was a member of the Common Council of the City of London, Chairman of the Committee of City Lands and served one year as Under Sheriff. He died in 1855.

His son, who was also politically active, retired from the firm in 1864 to become a Solicitor to the General Post Office, Saint Martin's Le Grand, London. John Morris, who had worked for Ashurst and Son for many years, became a partner and the firm changed its title to 'Ashurst and Morris'. Morris was very interested in company business, especially railways. He was involved with numerous projects including those concerning the Grand Truck Railway Company of Canada, Inner Circle Line of the Metropolitan Railway and the Forth Bridge. He was also responsible for the erection of offices at 17 Throgmorton Avenue which the firm relocated to in 1890. John Morris died in 1905.

In the 1860s, the firm's title was altered to 'Ashurst Morris and Company' when partnerships were forged with Thomas Norton Harvey between 1865 and 1877 and George Davis from 1869 to 1874. Frank Crisp became a partner in 1871 and in 1877 the firm adopted the title 'Ashurst Morris Crisp and Company'. Crisp had worked for the firm for a number of years and had a particular interest in company law. As a result, he became involved with the formation of a number of companies, including Explosive Trade Limited and General Motor Cab Company, and acted for many railway companies abroad, particularly in South America. Crisp was awarded a knighthood in 1907 for his work in connection to the Companies (Consolidation) Act 1906 and was created a Baronet in 1913. He died in 1919.

Other notable partners in the firm included William Morris Junior, Thomas Outen, Roland Thomas Outen, Edward Hora and Michael Richards.

In 2003, to keep in line with competitors, Ashurst Morris Crisp was rebranded as 'Ashurst LLP'. A merger with Blake Dawson in 2012 saw the firm become the 25th largest in the world with 24 offices in 14 countries.

Offices: 2 Sambrook Court, Basinghall Street (1822 - 1829); 84 Newgate Street ( 1829 - 1835); 137 Cheapside ( 1835 - 1854); 6 Old Jewry (1854 - 1890); 17 Throgmorton Street (1890 - 1982?); Broadgate House, 7 Eldon Street (1980s); Broadwalk House, 5 Appold Street (1990s - ); all City of London.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of Ashurst Morris Crisp, 1685-1999, including partnership agreements; financial records; copy-out letters; client papers, including Fairey Aviation Company Limited and White Waltham Airfield; press cuttings; papers relating to firm's history; staff salary books; correspondence concerning staff matters; papers relating to Ashmor Musical Society; photographs of company dinners and functions; plans and deeds relating to firm's offices at Throgmorton Avenue; papers concerning the Ashurst, Morris and Crisp families.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

These records are arranged as follows:
LMA/4537/A Constitutional
LMA/4537/B Financial
LMA/4537/C Administrative
LMA/4537/D Staff
LMA/4537/E Offices

Conditions governing access:

48 hours notice required for access.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright is held by the depositor.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Deposited in the archive in 2002.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

For a complete history of Ashurst Morris Crisp, please see: Judy Slinn, J Slinn: Ashurst, Morris Crisp. A radical firm (Cambridge, 1997) and LMA/4537/C/10.

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
Added December 2012

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