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March 13, 2019

Leeds-based Chartered Accountants Brown Butler has marked the start of its 100th anniversary year with a pledge to raise £5000 for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance.


Brown Butler is the largest independent firm of Chartered Accountants in Leeds and employs more than 80 people at its premises on St Paul’s Street. It will be fundraising through staff and client events throughout the year.


Director John Brear is one of the longest serving members of staff with 40 years’ service. He said: “We’ve been committed to the Leeds and wider Yorkshire business community for the past 100 years and wanted to celebrate our longevity and success by supporting a charity that benefits the whole region. Yorkshire Air Ambulance provides a life-saving rapid response emergency service to 5 million people across the county and has a major impact on a patient’s chance of survival and subsequent quality of life.


“We’ve come a long way since Leslie Brown and Joseph Butler founded the business in 1919. The last 20 years in particular have seen a period of sustained growth for the practice. We have continued to focus on smaller and medium sized businesses, predominantly owner-managed, and have developed specialist services, including corporate tax and corporate finance, to enhance our core general accountancy practice, which means we can provide our clients with well-rounded commercial advice.


“As we celebrate our 100th birthday we look forward to continuing to provide a professional and highly-personalised service, with the right levels of expertise, to our clients and to help them to meet the challenges we all face in the current business environment.”


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Brown Butler history


1916      Joseph (‘Joe’) Butler qualified as an accountant in 1916. He financed his studies and supported himself and his mother by giving piano lessons.

1919      He joined forces with Leslie Brown in 1919, who had been in practice in Leeds from 1910, and so Brown Butler & Co was born, occupying offices at 26 East Parade, in Leeds city centre. The relationship between the two founders was relatively short-lived.

1922      A new partner, D’Arcy Dickson Perkins, joined Joe in Brown Butler & Co. with the firm developing a presence in Bradford, Keighley, and Southport, at about this time (although it appears that the Keighley and Southport offices were operational for only two or three years). Like Leslie Brown before him, Joe’s second partner did not stay with the firm for more than a year or so, with Brown Butler & Co being run by Joe Butler as a sole practitioner for most of its first 30 years.

1928      The firm moves to 66 Albion Street, Leeds.

1941      The firm moves to 32/33 Commercial Street, Leeds,

1950      Joe Butler was joined by a new partner, Edward Greenwood.

1951      The partnership expanded again to include John Gordon Beaumont, who had been articled to a firm in Sheffield and had gained experience in the steel industry prior to joining the firm.

1959      Joe Butler retired.

1961      Roy Garthwaite, a graduate of Oxford University became a partner of the firm. Roy served as the firm’s senior partner from 1978 until his retirement in 1990.

1964      The firm moves to 26 Albion Street, Leeds

1968      Edward Greenwood retires.

1977      John Beaumont retires.

1978.     New Partners appointed: Trevor Gurney (senior partner after Roy Garthwaite from 1990 until his retirement in 2004), Tony Thrippleton (retired 1994) and Ken Holmes (retired 1992).

1981      The firm moves to Infirmary Street

1986      Mike Varley was appointed in 1986 and retired as partner in 2006, continuing to work for the firm on a part-time basis for a further year.

1987      Of the current partners, John Brear and Robert Solyom were appointed in 1987, Denis Cross in 1990, Mark Dearnley in 1992 and Steve Hornshaw and James White in 2006.

2006      Brown Butler moves to Wellington Street (Apsley House).

2011      The firm moves to its seventh principle office – Leigh House, 28-32 St Pauls Street, Leeds.

2019      Brown Butler is 100 years old.