Read all about our history, from 1906 to today!

The Early Years

The practice was founded by Arthur Tustin, who was the Secretary of the Northampton Artisans & Labourers Friend Society, a local building society. From 1906 he was listed in Leas Northampton Directory under accountants at the Artisans offices at 2a Newland Chambers, the site of which is now Grosvenor Chambers in the Market Square entrance to the Grosvenor Centre.

In 1920 Arthur Tustin moved the practice to the Artisans new offices at 3 Ladys Lane, where both organisations would be based for the next 50 years.

Tustin & Covington

In 1936 William Covington, formerly of the Northampton firm of Baker & Co, went into partnership with Mr Tustin to form Tustin and Covington Accountants & Auditors. In 1946 a young Peter Desborough was employed by the firm as the office boy. His first job each morning was to stoke up the boiler! In 1947 Arthur Tustin retired and William Covington carried on the business under his own name. He also succeeded Mr Tustin as Secretary of the Artisans.

In 1956 Maurice Orton was employed by Mr Covington who, due to new regulations, needed a qualified accountant to sign off certain sets of accounts. Mr Covington had not qualified himself as his training had been interrupted when he served in France during the First World War.

Orton Desborough & Co

When Mr Covington died in 1960, Mr Orton carried on the practice and was also elected Artisans secretary. It was at this time that Pat Raybould was employed as the firms secretary, and would remain in the position for nearly 50 years! By 1962 Mr Orton had gone into partnership with Peter Desborough, who had now qualified, to form Orton Desborough & Co.

The 1970’s were a time of great change for the practice. In the early 1970s, due to the town centre redevelopment that was getting underway, the firm and the Artisans were forced to relocate from Ladys Lane to 17 York Road. In 1974 Roger Cobley and Andrew Hasker were employed by the practice, and in 1977 Roger Cobley was admitted as a partner in the firm.

In 1978 the link with the Artisans was finally broken as it was taken over by the Town & Country Building Society. For the second time in a decade the practice had to move again, this time only across the road to 40 York Road.

By the early 1990’s Mr Orton had retired. In 1993 Andrew Hasker was admitted as a partner and the name of the firm was changed to Cobley Desborough & Co. As the firm expanded bigger premises were needed and in 1995 moved to 20 Billing Road, Northampton. It was also in that year that we incorporated DC Rose into the practice. Mr Desborough retired in 1998.

The 21st Century

The practice continued to grow into the new millennium and in 2005 Jonathan Cobley and Ashley Dunkley were admitted as partners in the firm, followed 2 years later by the admittance of Tim Cobley.

In 2006 the practice celebrated its centenary. A special reception was held to mark the event at the Cheyne Walk Club on 21st July 2006, and the day was a great success. Guests included the Mayor of Northampton, Colin Lill, and local MP Brian Binley.

By 2007 we had outgrown our offices again, so at the end of the year we moved to purpose built offices at Queensbridge, named Artisans House in recognition of our early origins.

In 2012 the practice was incorporated as Cobley Desborough Limited. Roger Cobley retired in 2018.

The past century has seen changes Arthur Tustin could scarcely have dreamed of, with the introduction of calculators, computers spreadsheets and smartphones but our culture has not changed as we still aim to provide a friendly, local service to our clients now and into the future.

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