THIS image of No 26 High Street was taken during a Remembrance service, held around the Cenotaph during the 1920s.

It shows the offices of solicitor Bruce Lamb, the third generation of the Lamb family to practise in Andover.

The rather austere ground floor frontage was completely changed in 1935 when the premises were taken over by Burton’s the Tailor.

Although Burton’s too has long gone, the black marble pillars then installed, still exist with their engraved, foundation stone inscriptions to commemorate the opening.

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The first Thomas Lamb (1809-1867) had practised in Bridge Street, and although the exact location of these premises was not pinpointed in any record I could find, David Howard has since contacted me to say that on the reverse of a Victorian photograph of Bridge Street that he has, it states that Lamb’s offices were directly opposite the White Hart hotel.

The subsequent move to the High Street in 1867 was likely a move by his son — also Thomas (1843-1906) — when he assumed control after his father’s death.

These new premises had been William Clark’s grocer’s shop.

On moving out he located farther up the street to a new building that was to become Croft’s in the 1930s, and finally Timothy White’s Wine Shop in the 1960s.

The pillared frontage of No 26 would have been installed by the second Thomas Lamb, as a more imposing setting for his solicitor’s office.

The recent edition of Pevsner, which has much-expanded entries for Andover, mentions the building as having the ‘shouldered-arched windows of c1875’ but fails to go any further in its description.

The historical evidence indicates that it could be a few years earlier (when Lamb moved in) but equally it may not have been an immediate improvement.

Thomas Lamb, over two marriages, was to have eight children between 1872 and 1902 but it was only Bruce, the fourth of five brothers, who was to take the legal firm into the third generation.

Indeed, of the eight children, one died at the age of 10 in 1884 and at least four never married.

The other two disappear from any of the usual records and it is a mystery what eventually happened to them but certainly the remaining family, comprising his widow and three daughters, moved out of The Elms in Salisbury Road after 1906, to The Limes in Junction Road.

Bruce, the Andover solicitor, was born at The Elms in 1878 and followed his father Thomas into legal practice, qualifying in 1900 and becoming a partner in the firm before taking sole control.

He was a member of Andover Cricket Club and a competent batsman whom, it was said, was a pleasure to watch.

In 1913, he married Yorkshire girl Ethel Wood in Leeds.

They set up home in Alexandra Road, Andover but later moved to Goodworth Clatford.

Bruce Lamb was a successful solicitor; he became a local councillor and held the post of superintendent registrar for births, marriages and deaths, as well as other appointments.

But ill-health was to dog him all his life, and even as a fairly young man was prone to heart attacks.

But nobody expected what was to happen one evening in March 1932.

Bruce Lamb’s usual habit, after finishing work, was to go up to Halcrow’s garage in London Street, from where Septimus Halcrow would drive him home to Clatford.

This could be at any time but on the evening of March 22, he did not arrive at all and Mr Halcrow assumed he had gone by his own steam.

However, Mrs Lamb telephoned the garage a little later as her husband had not arrived home.

Mr Halcrow then went to the office at 26 High Street.

A light was burning in the top room of his office but the front door was locked.

The solicitor’s assistant, John Tanner, was called who came with a key and the two men went up to the office.

There, the room was filled with gas and Bruce Lamb was lying on the floor about 18 inches from the gas tap.

The two men moved the body out into the hallway, turned off the gas and opened the window.

Dr Hodgson was called but the solicitor was dead.

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At the inquest, much was made of his state of health, including a recent knock on the head which affected his memory.

Evidently, he was very depressed and the verdict brought in was of suicide while of unsound mind.

It was the end for the family firm of solicitors lasting over three generations; Bruce and Ethel Lamb had no children and there seems to be no family descendants, certainly none in Andover.

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