Our history


Greene & Greene was established in 1893 by John Wollaston Greene, being joined by his brother, Kenneth Wollaston Greene, shortly afterwards.  They followed their own father and grandfather into the profession.  As well as starting the firm, John was also Registrar of the Diocese and Legal Secretary to the Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich and Registrar of the Archdeaconry of Sudbury.  His wife, Eva Paulina Boughey, had an impressive history of public service, holding the office of Justice of the Peace for West Suffolk, County Alderman for West Suffolk and Mayor of Bury St Edmunds between 1927-1928 and again between 1932-1933.


The brothers were part of the well-known Greene family, who have included a Governor of the Bank of England (Benjamin Buck Greene), a Director General of the BBC (Sir Hugh Carleton Greene OBE), an Everest Mountaineer (Charles Raymond Greene), a local MP (Edward Greene) and the internationally-acclaimed author Graham Greene.  The family is, of course, also known for its links with Bury St Edmunds brewers Greene King plc with John and Kenneth’s Great-Great Uncle, Benjamin Greene, founding the brewery in 1799.


Since 1937 Greene & Greene has been based in a large Queen Anne house at 80 Guildhall Street, in the Suffolk town of Bury St Edmunds.  The building had previously been owned by James Oakes of Oakes, Bevan & Co., the main bank in the town at the time.  He lived next door at 81 Guildhall Street and from 1830 ran his bank from the site now occupied by Lloyds Bank on The Cornhill, Bury St Edmunds.  Upon the marriage of his son, Orbell Oakes, in 1795, Orbell moved into 80 Guildhall Street and paid his father rent. 


The firm’s most famous member of staff did not make his name in the courtrooms of Suffolk or the High Court.  John Le Mesurier (born 5 April 1912) lived in Bury St Edmunds and following schooling in Kent and Dorset followed his father into the legal profession.  He joined Greene & Greene as an articled clerk in 1930 and used his spare time to join local amateur dramatics groups.  In 1933 John decided to leave the legal profession to enrol at the Fay Compton Studio of Dramatic Art.  This began a career on stage and screen, culminating in his role as Sergeant Arthur Wilson in the BBC television situation comedy Dad's Army between 1968–77.


Bury has seen a continuous increase in business activity since the 1960s which has been reflected in the increase in the size of the firm.  The building has been extended and adjacent office space has been acquired.  Growth has been achieved through the careful recruitment of excellent lawyers and by satisfied clients recommending the firm to others.  Our lawyers’ high level of professional expertise has been reflected in judicial and similar appointments.

Both Bury and Greene & Greene continue to thrive today.  New jobs are being created in the town, and investment continues apace.
About the firm

Our history

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