our history

Wilkin Chapman has a history spanning over 120 years and has seen the firm grow from humble beginnings to one of the largest firm's of solicitors in the region.

Wilkin Chapman photographs

Our history

Wilkin Chapman started life in 1900 when two sole practitioners, James Whiteley Wilkin and Ernest Benjamin Chapman established a partnership on Victoria Street in Grimsby.

The work of a provincial solicitors’ office at the start of the 20th century was very different from that now undertaken. Family law was virtually non-existent, divorce a rarity and the custody of children seldom an issue of official dispute. Commercial matters commonly involved little more than straightforward contracts and businesses - a far cry from the complex ownership structures of today - were generally family affairs, passing from father to son as a matter of course. Messrs Wilkin and Chapman concentrated on conveyancing, probate and trusts, with services to local businesses and a small amount of litigation thrown in for good measure.

As the client base grew, so too did our expertise. During the 1960s, the firm’s commercial department began a period of significant growth in response to the needs of one large client, the Ross Group. This process continued unabated as economic activity mushroomed in the region - particularly on the Humber Bank - and the improvement in transport and other communication facilities have enabled us to extend our client base to include businesses throughout the UK.

This level of expertise was considered unusual in a provincial practice but formed the basis for our future growth and success.

The last twenty years have seen further mergers with numerous firms across Lincolnshire and East Yorkshire as we have continued to strengthen our presence in our heartland and build Wilkin Chapman into the firm that is recognised today.

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