Celebrations mark 100th birthday of ‘living legal legend’

Highly respected: Harry Ellis, 100, with (left) Nigel Smith, Managing Partner, Ellis Jones Solicitors, and Paul Naser, a former partner with Ellis Jones.

Highly respected: Harry Ellis, 100, with (left) Nigel Smith, Managing Partner, Ellis Jones Solicitors, and Paul Naser, a former partner with Ellis Jones.

Celebrations have been held to mark the 100th birthday of one of the best known members of Bournemouth’s legal community.

Guests toasted the health of Harry Ellis at a special party organised by Ellis Jones Solicitors, the Dorset and New Forest law firm which bears his name.

Among the speakers at the event at Bournemouth’s Miramar Hotel was Nigel Smith, Ellis Jones’ Managing Partner.

Hailing Harry as “a living legal legend” Mr Smith said: “If we could bottle just a small amount of Harry’s energy and experience then we would be onto an absolute winner.

“His compassion, integrity and fun of life continues to this day. He is an inspiring and highly respected figure who richly deserves the many tributes received on reaching the age of 100.”

Harry began his legal career in Newport, Monmouthshire, where he was born. He was admitted to the roll of solicitors of England and Wales on May 1, 1939 and, later that year, married Amy, his childhood sweetheart.

Harry became a well-known member of the Bournemouth law community through his firms Mitchell and Ellis; Harry Ellis and Co; Ellis, Belcher and Co and, latterly, Ellis Fowler Belcher.

The current Ellis Jones was an amalgamation of Ellis Fowler Belcher and Frank Jones & Co.

Harry served as President of the Bournemouth & District Law Society from 1973 to 1974.

Even after formal retirement Harry continued as a consultant to Ellis Jones Solicitors until relatively recently.

Among the many tributes received on his birthday was a letter from Jonathan Smithers, President of the Law Society.

Congratulating Harry on his ‘landmark anniversary’, Mr Smithers said: “You have lived through momentous times and have a lifetime of experience.”

He added: “It gives me great pleasure to congratulate you on behalf of the Law Society on your many years of service in the profession.”

Paul Naser, who joined Ellis, Belcher and Co, as an office junior in 1966 and later became a partner in Ellis Jones, recalled Harry’s courtesy and calm  temperament.

“Harry was a true professional, a very well respected lawyer. He was always formally dressed in a pin stripe suit, shoes made to measure and the bowler hat. Don’t forget the bowler!” he laughed.

Reflecting on his 70 years in the legal profession Harry, who continues to live in his own flat on Bournemouth’s East Cliff, said: “I enjoyed the cut and thrust of the legal profession and the camaraderie. They were happy years and I made many friends.”


Note to journalists: Ellis Jones is one of the largest law firms in Dorset and West Hampshire with more than 140 staff including 12 partners. It has offices in Bournemouth, Canford Cliffs (Poole), Ringwood, Swanage and London offering a wide range of services to individuals and businesses.

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