Manchester merger takes Georgian HQ

Newly-merged Manchester sets Bridge Street Chambers and Hollins Chambers are to move into a historic Georgian townhouse built by the 18th century Corn Law reformer John Cobden.

The new set, to be known as Cobden's House Chambers, will move into the townhouse, formerly Manchester's long-serving county court, in November, once extensive refurbishment has been completed.

The merger will bring together the nine barristers of the chancery and commercial Bridge Street set with Hollins' 26-strong common law set.

Stuart Neale, a senior tenant at Hollins Chambers, said that while some London sets moved towards greater specialisation, provincial chambers had to take a different tack. "I see in the next 20 to 30 years circuit chambers having a much broader base," said Neale.

"We can offer pretty much one-stop services," added colleague Johnathan Gregg.

Trevor Doyle, who was a clerk at Manchester's Deans Court Chambers, will become senior clerk at the new set, taking over from Peter Davies, who has left the chambers.

Howard Baisden, who heads Hollins Chambers, will run the new set with his Bridge Street counterpart, Peter Keenan.

The merger comes as other Manchester sets have set their sights on London – two weeks ago The Lawyer reported that Manchester set Byron Chambers would be merging with 22 Old Buildings.