Burgess & Burgess, as we were initially called, was founded in 1938 in London. When Len Hodgson became senior partner in the early 1970’s, the name changed to Burgess Hodgson and had two partners and approximately 10 staff, based in Charing Cross.
In addition to the existing partners of Len Hodgson and Colin Slater, Steve Sutton who is our current senior partner, and Mrs Marian Youngman (now retired) moved to Canterbury with the firm in 1976. The initial set up consisted of the two partners and six staff members occupying the downstairs and about half of the upstairs of the old part of 27 New Dover Road, with the rest of the building being let to a sitting tenant.
Straight after moving to Canterbury we operated a separate London office, as London clients were, and remain, very important to us. Now the partners and staff serving these clients are based in our Canterbury office, as modern communication methods enable us to work efficiently and cost-effectively. Indeed, the London side of the practice has seen an expansion in recent years.
Being newcomers to the Canterbury area, work was hard to come by in the recession-hit times of the late 1970s, but a period of steady expansion saw the firm increase in size. This period of expansion led to Steve becoming a partner in 1979, together with Peter Clark (who retired in 2001) and Ken Jones in 1984.
By the mid 1980s, the expansion had filled the whole of 27 New Dover Road. The partners bought the neighbouring building, 29 New Dover Road, and obtained planning permission for a substantial extension on the back of 27 New Dover Road, which was built during 1986, the year in which Paul Gatland became a partner.
Our firm has continued to grow, and Steve Sutton took over as senior partner in 1993 when Len Hodgson retired. Both numbers of staff and partners have steadily increased: Andrew Miles had become a partner in 1990, Mark Laughton and Mike Horne in 1997, Colin Reid in 2000, Richard Stewart in 2003, Kenton May in 2004, Matthew Sutton in 2010 and Robert Field and Martin West in April 2012.
Even with the combined buildings of 27 New Dover Road (as extended) and 29 New Dover Road, the growth of the business meant a squeeze on space, and the partners could foresee a situation where the firm would simply outgrow the available space, potentially forcing a move to a new premises.
To that end, in 2014 Burgess Hodgson connected the two buildings via an impressive glass walkway and is now utilising more space in 29 Dover Road to house its ever-growing workforce. The new walkway, increased office space, coupled with the potential to expand further on the existing site, will secure the future of the firm within the Canterbury area, and, together with a substantial investment in IT equipment, provide modern purpose built facilities to house the firm’s future growth.
On 1 December 2015 the partnership converted to a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP), practising as Burgess Hodgson LLP. The new structure creates a modern business platform for a developing practice and is just the latest development for a firm that, in 2016, is celebrating 40 years in Canterbury.
The firm now employs more than 100 people, with 18 partners and 11 associates. It continues to attract the cream of young graduates with its impressive track record of training to industry qualifications.