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History of Donald Race & Newton

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The History of DRN

Donald Race & Newton Solicitors has an impressive reputation stemming from the company’s rich heritage, vast legal experience and strong customer values.

After being admitted as a solicitor of the Supreme Court at just 21 years of age, Mr Donald Race founded the firm on 7th April, 1924. The original office, located at 10 Hargreaves Street in Burnley, consisted of just two rooms – the principal’s office and the enquiry office. Mr Race employed 14-year-old Wilfred Newton and, three years later, 15-year-old George Horn was also welcomed aboard the staff.

With an increasing client base and a steadily climbing reputation in the local area, the small team soon outgrew their limited office space, and Mr Race acquired another room in the same building, which afforded the team to increase by two members of staff.

The outbreak of the Second World War caused some significant disruptions in the operation of the business. In 1940, George Horn joined the Royal Airforce and became an air gunner. Sadly, he was brought down in action over the Mediterranean and was then captured by the Italians and became a Prisoner of War. Later, in 1941, Wilfred Newton was drafted into the Army, where he remained until the end of the war.

With ambitions to become solicitors themselves, Wilfred and George returned to the employ of Mr Donald Race after the war ended in 1945. Both young men became articled to Mr Race and soon qualified. Mr Race made Wilfred and George partners in the practice and the name of the firm was changed to Donald Race & Newton.

Now partners, Mr Race, Mr Newton and Mr Horn continued to work hard to increase the firm’s reach and build their business, which now had a particularly shining reputation for its court work. Mr Race received considerable recognition as an advocate, acting as the defence solicitor in a number of high-profile murder cases.

With a growing team and growing workloads, the offices at 10 Hargreaves Street once again became too small for the team, and the practice made the move to larger premises; first at 7 Manchester Road, Burnley, and then later to 3 Hargreaves Street, Burnley.

In 1954, at the young age of 16, Mr Derek Lambert joined the firm as an articled clerk, articled to Mr Newton. After several years of training and gaining valuable industry experience with the firm, Derek was later admitted as a solicitor, achieving his qualification with Second Class Honours at 21 years old.

The firm continued to thrive and expand, and over the following few years Peter Lawson, Roger Pickup and Wilfred’s son, Simon Newton, all joined as articled clerks and soon became partners in the practice.

A further office was opened in Nelson in 1958, and the firm went on to purchase the practice of Bracewell & Dyson on Albert Road in Colne. DRN offices still occupy the same building in Colne today.

In the early 1960s, the firm took over the practice of Birtwells and moved their Burnley staff into larger offices on Nicholas Street. Later, in 1989, Donald Race & Newton acquired practice of the long-established Burnley firm, Holmes Butterfield & Hartley, which had been in trade since the late 19th century. DRN’s capacity, presence and capabilities were all continually increasing, as was the firm’s glowing reputation in Burnley and the surrounding areas.

Keeping up with further expansion, in 2007 the firm purchased a larger building on Hargreaves Street – the former Lloyds Bank – in order to accommodate its growing team of staff.

2013 saw further developments in the business with the launch of DRN Commercial – an office specifically dedicated to satisfy the increasing demand for commercial legal services.

Most recently, in November 2017, DRN has acquired offices in Ramsbottom. The team there are all specialists in conveyancing.

Throughout the firm’s history, Donald Race & Newton has remained true to its founding principles of expertise, value, honesty and professionalism, providing expert advice and representation delivered through outstanding service.

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