Our History

We have been providing accountancy, audit, taxation and business advisory services for 74 years. Founded by Jim Carley in 1950 to serve businesses and individuals in the Gravesend area, we have since expanded to serve clients of all sizes from across all four corners of the globe.

1930s-1940s: Humble Beginnings

In the mid 1930s, a young Jim Carley embarked on his accountancy journey, securing his first client - the Roma Café in Leyton - whilst still an apprentice. After World War II, Mr Carley worked with F. Sykes & Co, specialising in Film, Stage & Publishing. There, he met David Henley and sorted out his taxation affairs, which led to Jim expanding his network and attracting clients from the prestigious J. Arthur Rank starlet scheme.

 

1950: A Firm Footing

In 1950, Jim acquired John Frarey's practice at 48 Windmill Street, Gravesend, and hired his first employee, Tony Cartwright. Committed to growing his client base in the Gravesend area, Jim commuted from Sidcup in a pre-war Ford 8.

 

1957: A New Identity: Carley & Co

The merger of the Society of Incorporated Accountants with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales spurred Jim Carley to rebrand his own practice. The firm became known as "Carley & Co, Chartered Accountants", and took over Arthur G Mortimer's accountancy practice in Gravesend, onboarding his client base and signifying a new era.

 

1960-1975: Expansion and Innovation

John Lord joined Carley & Co as a partner in 1960, and by 1968, the firm became one of the first in the country to use computerised technology to produce timesheets. In 1973, Carley & Co opened a second office in Longfield, and knocked through to 49 Windmill Street to expand the size of their existing Gravesend practice. David Annal was made a third Partner in the same year. Brian Hensman rejoined and became Partner during this period.

 

The 1980s: Passing the Torch

In 1979, Barry Owen joined the firm - and shortly thereafter, Carley & Co purchased "The Art School" at Overcliffe and converted these into new offices. In 1983, Jim Carley retired at the age of 72, marking almost 50 years of building his practice. In 1988, David Annal also retired, making John Lord the Senior Partner at the firm.

 

The 1990s: New Leadership

David Stacey joined the firm in 1991, and shortly afterwards the Longfield office was closed in order to fund a merger with Rowland Hall & Co in Gravesend - to coincide with this development, Alan Gooch was made a new Partner. In 1998, Tanja Lawes joined the firm as a graduate trainee.

 

2000-2002: The Carley Partnership

In 2000, Carley & Co celebrated their 50th anniversary of continuous operation, and John Lord retired shortly after - marking 40 years of service as Partner. Claire Ralph joined in the same year, having previously worked at McBride's and Simpson Wreford & Co in managerial positions, and was made a Partner herself in 2002. Lucie Boaler also joined in 2002, and the firm rebranded from "Carley & Co" to "The Carley Partnership".

 

2010-2011: An Era Ends

In September 2010, Jim Carley, the original founder of the firm, died at age 96. In 2011, Alan Gooch retired from active practice in order to take on a Consultant role.

 

2012-2019: Community and Continuity

In 2012, Martin Entwistle was made an Associate - and Tanja Lawes joined him as an Associate in 2016. 2019 marked the promotion of Tanja Lawes to Partner and Lucie Boaler to Associate, as well as the retirement of Barry Owen.

 

2021-2023: Embracing Change

The Carley Partnership managed to outlast the ravages of the pandemic, however the post-pandemic era still proved a catalyst for change. In 2021, Martin Entwistle left the firm - and Barry Owen, a former Partner, sadly passed away. The following year, Claire Ralph was promoted to Senior Partner, following the departure of Brian Hensman. In 2023, Lucie Boaler became a Partner - and Jean Laity, a long-serving employee of 47 years, retired.

 

2024: New Name, New Location

2024 was perhaps the most dramatic individual year for the firm to date - as the firm left their offices at 8 Overcliffe after 43 years, and the Gravesend area after 74 years; to move to the Fitted Rigging House at the Historic Dockyard in Chatham. To coincide with this move, the firm rebranded from "The Carley Partnership" to "Carleys", as many clients already knew them.

 

2025: 75 Years of Excellence

Although this chapter has not yet been written, all of us here at Carleys are so tremendously excited to look back on how far the firm has grown since its official formation in 1950 - from starting as a sole proprietor to becoming a trusted name in accountancy and business advisory in the Medway, Gravesend and Kent areas. As we prepare to celebrate our 75th continuous year of operation, we would like to thank our fantastic clients for being a part of the journey with us. We hope to still be helping businesses and individuals in our community and championing their successes 75 years from now.

Contact Details

Carleys - Chartered Accountants in Medway, Kent
Second Floor South, The Fitted Rigging House
Anchor Wharf
The Historic Dockyard
Chatham
Kent
ME4 4TZ

(01634) 394 045
(01474) 569 032
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