The Partners and staff of Harold Bell & Co would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.
Please note our offices will close at 5.00pm on Tuesday 23rd December and re-open at 9.00am on Monday 5th January 2015.
If, during the Christmas closure, urgent assistance is required, in connection with a deceased person’s estate, we have a dedicated Probate telephone line, especially for this purpose.
We do appreciate that the loss of a loved one can be an emotional and stressful time, particularly at this time of year and so, if urgent assistance is required, please telephone our dedicated line on 020 8394 8014.
Please note that this line is only for probate enquiries and we will be unable to assist with any other matters.
Harold Bell & Co. is a Solicitor firm that has served Ewell and its surrounding communities from the same location for over 50 years. Harold Bell established the firm in 1958, and was succeeded by his son Malcolm Bell who remains the firm’s senior partner and runs the practice with his partner Tracy Poolman.
Located in Ewell, we are a short commute to and from surrounding areas including Epsom, Ashtead, Sutton, Cheam, Banstead, Tolworth, Surbiton, Worcester Park, Esher, Guildford, Tadworth, Leatherhead, New Malden and Kingston upon Thames. Please click here for travel details or alternatively telephone us for directions and one of our members of staff will be happy to assist.
A traditional local “family” law firm, we act for clients primarily in matters of conveyancing (residential and commercial), estate planning, wills and probate, matrimonial dissolution and mediation, and general litigation. We are happy to advise on partnership and employment. We also provide guidance on how to proceed with those matters we do not regularly handle, and provide referrals as necessary. Tracy Poolman is a Notary Public. We can take oaths and statutory declarations, usually without an appointment.
We pride ourselves that most of our business comes by recommendation and that we now act, in some cases, for the grandchildren of clients of our founder.
We like to be seen as approachable and helpful as well as professional and efficient.
We welcome all viewers and potential clients, as well as our established clients, to our website.
On the 31st October 1958, our founder Harold Bell (and father of current partner Malcolm Bell) retired as a partner in the city firm Butt & Bowyer and started in his own name of Harold A Bell Solicitor in Kingston Upon Thames. Thus was born the firm of Harold Bell & Co that we know today.
Harold Bell had left school at 15 knowing that he wanted to be a Solicitor and had completed all his articles and exams before his 21st birthday. As the age of majority was then 21, he had to wait to be admitted as a Solicitor and was duly admitted as such on the 1st February 1940.
He joined the city firm of Butt & Bowyer and after the war became a partner. It was the same firm, Butt & Bowyer, for whom his father Marcus Anthony Bell worked as Managing Clerk (the modern equivalent Legal Executive).
Connections in Surrey and particularly Kingston and Surbiton made it worthwhile for the Junior Partner in Butt & Bowyer to spend all his time in that area. Consequently, his connections with the city part of the practice dwindled and it became inevitable that he would go on his own.
Never a person to have partners easily, being somewhat autocratic in style, assistants and partners came and went over a period and in the mid 60’s the premises at Kingston were given up in favour of our present premises at Ewell. In approximately 1970, Harold Bell invited a Legal Executive Leslie Collins to join the practice who added enormously to the probate, will and conveyancing element of it. Leslie, who only retired a few years ago, sadly passed away in April 2008.
Also in the early 70’s he was joined by Ronald Barrett who became a partner and continued to be until Harold Bells death in 1978. In approximately 1972, Harold Bell was joined by his son Malcolm as an Articled Clerk. Malcolm had some articles in London during that period and qualified, sadly, a month after Harold Bell died in June 1978. Malcolm went into partnership immediately with Ron Barratt and this continued happily until 1988. Ron Barratt then decided to retire and Malcolm was left as a sole practitioner for nearly two years when he was joined by Tracy Poolman in 1990 as an assistant, who then became Malcolm’s partner in 1994 They have enjoyed a happy partnership since. In 1998, the firm celebrated 40 years with a party of some 250 staff, friends and clients in driving, freezing rain in the middle of the summer!! Over the years, staff have come and gone but they have almost all left on friendly terms and very many of them have been with the partnership for numbers of years and in some cases numbers of decades. Sue Parsons was Harold Bells secretary from the early 70’s and was with the firm for over 30 years. Chris Sargent had worked for the firm since the Kingston days and whilst she left the firm some years ago now, she had been with it for decades. Both Sue and Chris will always be remembered. Other members of staff had done “stretches” of nearly 10 years and at the present time, we have three members who have been here well over 10 years and three others of not much less.
Branch offices were opened and at one stage we had a branch at Honiton in Devon: this was started by Harold Bell with his son in the early 70’s and continued for well over a decade, until sold to the then partner Malcolm Turnball. Hampton Wick, which was eventually taken over by a former partner Gerald Infield and at Thames Ditton which was closed after manning difficulties.
The consolidation in a single office has been good for the firm. The nature of the work we do has not radically changed. Whilst there is no immediate prospect of the children of the current partners coming into the practice, one never knows what will happen. We hope that there will be continuity in the practice from the younger people that are joining it.