On 23 January 1818, a group of Hull solicitors met at the long-since demolished Dog and Duck tavern on the east side of the High Street (south of Blackfriargate, near the corner of Humber Street) to constitute “The Hull Law Society”. The Society has today in its possession an original drawing of The Dog and Duck by Frederick Schultz Smith: it is the building to the R of The Ferry Boat Inn.

Frederick Schultz Smith, 'The Ferry Boat Inn and The Dog & Duck, High Street, Hull' (HILS)

Frederick Schultz Smith, ‘The Ferry Boat Inn and The Dog & Duck, High Street, Hull’ ((c) HILS)

The purpose of the Society was “to encourage liberal and fair practice among attorneys and solicitors, and to support the privileges and respectability of the profession”. The first officers were elected on 27 March 1818. President – Mr Frost, Vice President – Mr Martin, Secretary – Mr Scholefield. The subscription was one guinea per year.

The Society was incorporated on 12 November 1879 at a meeting held at the Royal Station Hotel. The first President was Mr Henry Birks. Meetings at this time were held at various venues in the city, some no longer in existence, when the usual matters were discussed.

There are records missing from 1823-1851 and 1880-1916, the latter probably destroyed in the great flood of 17 December 1921 which affected the Old Town and Wincolmlee.

The first Law Library was in Parliament Street, and in October 1860 the Librarian, Mr Charlesworth, received an increase of £10 to £20 per annum “on condition that he kept the Library open from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. daily, and 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Saturdays”.

Records show that the Law Society’s Hall was in Lincoln’s Inn Buildings, Bowlalley Lane until 1923 when the Society purchased the Pioneer Hotel – thereafter Larards – now a bar, in Bishop Lane which was the Law Society’s Hall and Library until its acquisition in 1951 of Imperial Chambers in Bowlalley Lane. In 1996 these premises were acquired by Wolverhampton & Dudley Brewery, and yet another professional institution became “a trendy wine bar”. The Society then moved to King’s Building in South Church Side where it remained until 2013. In June of that year it moved to 29 Scale Lane, not far from the High Street where the Society was formed in 1818 – and directly facing the family home of the first President, Mr Frost, at 10 Scale Lane.

Turning to more recent developments the Society saw a change to its constitution on 18th May 2012 and is pleased to welcome barristers, chartered legal executives and trainee solicitors into the membership.

Past Presidents from engravings on the Chain of Office 1879-1931