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Feb 18 2024
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Centenary donation helps to keep Brightlingsea Museum free

A donation to from local solicitors’ business John Fowler will help to ensure that entry to Brightlingsea Museum remains free.

The £1,500 gift comes as the law firm, which has an office in Victoria Place, Brightlingsea, marks its centenary.

Staff from the firm, including senior partner Kim Kennedy and business manager Michael Kennedy, recently visited the musem to hand over a cheque to chairman Nick Skinner and other trustees, with Brightlingsea Deputy Steve Archer in attendance.

John Fowler, who founded the business, was born in Lincolnshire and came to Brightlingsea when he married Lillie Harris, a local music teacher. 

Returning to Brightlingsea after the WWI, he became clerk to the Brightlingsea Urban District Council, the Harbour Commissioners, the Board of Works, the electric company, gas company and more.

He was secretary of the Cinque Port Liberty of Brightlingsea, a mason, a supporter of the horticultural society and the football club, and appeared in local musical productions. Having qualified as a solicitor before the war, in 1924 he opened his own firm of solicitors.

Harold Oldman joined the business in the 1930s. While held as a prisoner of war after his bomber was shot down over Berlin in WW2, Harold studied law with the help of the Red Cross and managed to qualify as a solicitor.

anthony fowler
John Fowler, to the left of the chairman) at a meeting of the Brightlingsea Urban District Council in the 1930s

At the end of the war, Harold rejoined John Fowlers Solicitors, opening a branch of the firm on Colchester High Street. He also became a partner with John Fowler and for a time the firm was known as John Fowler, Oldman & Co.

When John Fowler died in the 1950s, Harold Oldman became the senior partner and remained so until 1980, by which time John’s son Tony had joined the firm and took over the senior role.

Harold Oldman was joined by John Fowler’s son, Tony Fowler, and remained the senior partner of the firm until 1980. After Harold Oldman retired, Tony Fowler became senior partner in his place, followed by Colin Dove and then current senior partner, Kim Kennedy.

The firm is now headquartered in Colchester, and also operates from offices in Clacton and West Mersea.


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