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The acquisition of the Shropshire firm is part of a declared expansion plan for Humberts (whose parent company is The Farley Group) and follows their purchase of Kent estate agents Calcutt Maclean Standen in 2006.

Jeremy Lamond, director of Halls fine art division, told ATG little would change in the near future and he added that Halls would keep their name until the change has fully registered with their client base.

He described himself as delighted with the merger that was the culmination of nine months of detailed discussions between the two firms. Plugging into a national structure that now numbers 79 regional offices countrywide would, he said, be a positive move for the division and its clients.

Certainly, while the acquisition is all about estate agency, Halls fine art in Welsh Bridge represents the strongest string to Humberts’ growing fine art division. It is also the only one with a permanent saleroom.

Humberts – incorporating Tayler & Fletcher, the Cheltenham firm they acquired in 2003 – currently hold monthly chattels and furnishings sales and thrice-yearly fine sales from The Royal British Legion Hall, Bourton on the Water, Cheltenham.

Last November they also acquired the various Kent and West Sussex branches of the Calcutt Maclean Standen estate agency and their fine art division (a separate company) who conduct regular sales at Wye College and St Ronans School in Hawkhurst.