Claire McKie and Backhouse Jones: A notable red rose success story

Claire McKie is certainly not Public Enemy Number One. Rather, she is a Notary Public. There is quite an important distinction that the good people of Lancashire might not wish to confuse.

Moreover Claire is definitely not a notorious gangster. Rather she is at the completely different end of the legal spectrum.

There are 80,000 solicitors in the UK but only 700 qualified Notaries Public. A Notary Public authenticates documents for use in other jurisdictions and therefore has international recognition. Basically this means when documents are really important they need an extra authentication to provide an enhanced service.

This can involve documents such as Powers of Attorney for use in other countries, certified copy identification and swearing an oath or affidavit. The receiving jurisdiction, upon seeing a Notarial Stamp, will accept the authenticity.

Claire was expertly trained by fellow Notary Public Tom Hoyle who is known throughout Lancashire as a solicitor of real distinction.

Claire is Lancashire born and bred. She was brought up in the Ribble Valley where she continues to live and indeed work - at Backhouse Jones Solicitors. Think of Claire as less Public Enemy Number One and more as the Ingrid Bergman of The Ribble Valley.

Notorious was a 1946 American film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, starring Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman in a situation that required expert and delicate handling.

Notorious was considered by the critics to mark a watershed for Hitchcock as it represents thematic maturity and should you need mature advice at watershed moments in your life contact Claire at or call her on 01254 828300.

Coincidences abound between Claire and Ingrid Bergman. In 1984, the year Claire was born, Poulsen Roser introduced their red hybrid tea rose named Rosa ‘Ingrid Bergman’. Lancashire Business View readers will be relieved to know that the rose is red in colour, just like the red rose on the flag of Lancashire.

Fortunately Claire is in fragrant company as her company is a bouquet of roses. Twenty-five red roses to be precise, albeit there is one solitary lady from the county of the white rose having been welcomed into the fold.

A history of progressive thinking

Backhouse Jones is a red rose firm that has a heritage that can be traced back to 1819 in a direct succession within the Backhouse family.

The firm was first opened by Richard Backhouse who is a direct ascendant of Sally-Anne Backhouse. Sally-Anne joined the family firm in 1979 to support her father, John Backhouse, and then in the 1990s welcomed her twin brothers into the firm to assist her.

The firm has a history of relying on legal ladies. During the Second World War the male partners went to war, leaving the firm in the capable hands of two ladies named Miss Edith Lucas and Miss Edna Perkins.

When the war concluded, Henry Backhouse engaged in “war law” as he was appointed a judge advocate at The Nuremburg Trials. But that’s another story.

This absence of gender discrimination was ahead of its time in the 1940s and is perpetuated today with all five of the firm’s current crop of trainee solicitors happening to be female - by coincidence, not design. The best woman / women got the job.

Backhouse Jones in the 1800s was well placed to advise the pioneers of The Industrial Revolution that readers of Lancashire Business View will be proud to know commenced in their own great county. Initially, the firm represented canal owners, then railway companies before settling on its current specialism which is representing bus, coach and haulage companies.

It is fair to say that the forefathers of Backhouse Jones concentrated their expertise in Lancashire whereas Claire’s notarial work has seen her stamp her authority (literally, as well as figuratively) on documents that finalised business in places as far afield as Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, India, The UAE and Zimbabwe.

Like Ingrid Bergman before her, Claire has had cause to conduct business in Morocco but she is not sure if her documents made it into a bar in Casablanca. Play it again, Claire.