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The firm was started around 1890 by Doctor Frederick William Hardman who was born in Manchester and moved to Walmer in 1888, after studying law and becoming a Doctor of Law.

He practised as a Barrister before taking over an existing practice in Deal, practising as F W Hardman. He had two sons who later qualified as Solicitors and joined him in the practice, which then became known as Hardman and Sons.

The ‘little doctor’ as he was affectionately known, had retired by the outbreak of the Second World War, and the practice was carried on in the Deal office by Gerald Hardman. The Doctor’s other son, Philip, opened a branch in Broadstairs.

During the Second World War, all the Solicitors in Deal agreed that if any of them suffered bomb damage, they would all help each other out. Mr Leonard Watson was a sole practitioner in the High Street, who suffered such damage, and was then asked by Gerald Hardman to join his firm, hence the firm then became Hardman & Watson. In 1950, Mr Watson retired and John Daniell became a Partner.

Mr Hardman retired around 1960, when Denis Atherden became a Partner. Both the sons of John Daniell and Denis Atherden subsequently joined the firm. Jonathan Daniell was articled to his father after he graduated from Cambridge University, around 1963. When he qualified, he worked at the firm first as an assistant Solicitor, later as Partner, and ultimately as Senior Partner before his untimely death in 2004.

Eleanore Plews and Catherine Hobson were Partners of Jonathan who continue the firm in the name of Hardmans to this day.

Park Street, Deal - 1944
Park Street, Deal - 1944
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