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Sale of Berkshire property companies marks over 100 years of legal service

Leading regional law firm, Gardner Leader, has marked over 100 years of service to two of its longest standing clients, the Gibson and Henry families, by acting in the sale of their South of England property owning companies, F.W. Gibson Son & Co. Ltd and Munro Properties Ltd.


Gardner Leader has been at the heart of the Berkshire community for more than 125 years, providing legal services and support to many of the local businesses, and individuals, based in the region over that time.


On completion of the sale of the two companies, entries found in Gardner Leader’s archives date the law firm’s relationship with the families back as early as the 1920’s when the founder of Gardner Leader acted for the founder of the companies F.W. Gibson. Mr Gibson went on to incorporate the F.W. Gibson company in 1938, whilst Munro Properties Ltd was established in 1955.


F.W. Gibson Son & Co. and Munro Properties own a number of prominent buildings in the local community, including 78 Northbrook Street, which has been home to the retailer Crew Clothing since 2011, and 77 Northbrook Street, currently used by Greggs since 2012, both located in the centre of Newbury. Also included in its portfolio is Lloran House, in Marlborough, home to Rick Stein’s iconic seafood restaurant and a property in Wells which houses Café Nero.


Speaking on the longstanding relationship the Gibson and Henry families have had with Gardner Leader, Innes Munro Henry, a former Director of the two companies said: “As family run businesses, our two families have always prided ourselves on building long lasting relationships, whether that’s been with our tenants or with other local businesses, organisations or firms in the area. Gardner Leader has been providing legal support and advice to our families for decades and having its team act on our behalf in the recent sale of our two companies feels like a very prominent moment.”


He continued: “While our families’ connection to the firm goes back nearly 100 years, I have personally built a close relationship with partner Greg Humphreys over the last 20 years. Selling the companies, which have played a major part in our lives for so long, has been incredibly emotive, but Greg and his team were on hand, as always, to guide us and provided the best advice throughout.”


Former director, Elizabeth Cripp added: “It has been a pleasure to have such a long association with Gardner Leader and we appreciate the legal guidance and professionalism throughout these years.”


Gardner Leader’s presence in Berkshire goes back over a century, with offices in Newbury and Thatcham. The firm has tripled in size over the last 10 years, now employing a team of more than 180 members of staff and expanding across the South of England, with offices in London, Windsor, Swindon, Maidenhead and most recently Oxford. Its highly experienced team of legal professionals work across six specialist teams each dedicated to providing specific services to businesses and to individuals.


Greg Humphreys, Partner at Gardner Leader and Head of the Real Estate team, said: “It’s been a pleasure working with the Gibson and Henry families throughout my time at Gardner Leader and especially with Innes, since 2005, and more recently Liz, as directors of the companies. Over that time, I developed a very close relationship with them. It’s a fantastic feeling to think that as a firm we have been supporting the families and the companies since the founder first approached us in the 1920’s all the way through to their sale.


“At Gardner Leader we pride ourselves on building personal connections with our clients and being a firm that they can trust, that understands their priorities, and that delivers sound legal advice and peace of mind.”

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Left: Elizabeth Cripp; Right: Innes Munro Henry

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