The firm of Gray's Solicitors has existed in York since the 17th century. William Gray (1) was the son of a Hull customs officer. He became a solicitor in York. His two sons, Jonathan (b. 1779) and William (2) (b.1785) followed him into the legal business and the firm of Grays, as did Jonathan's son, a third William Gray (b. 1805), and his son, Edwin (b.1847)
In 1843, the second William Gray was at the helm of the firm, which was located at 75 Low Petergate (it had previously been 'Thorpe and Gray's)
William Henry Cobb was born in York around 1839. He became a freemen of the city in 1860, and by 1872 had set up his own solicitor's firm at 19 Blake Street. The firm was known as W.H. Cobb and Son, and given that his son, Cecil was a law student at the time he became a freeman in 1892, it is likely that he joined his father in the business around this time.
Ernest Ralph Dodsworth was the son of Benjamin Dodsworth, a York surgeon. He was born in 1859, and became a freemen in 1883. That year, he set up a solicitors firm on New Street. By 1885, Dodsworth had become a partner in the firm of Gray's Solicitors, which at the time was under the third William Gray and his son Edwin.
In 1897, the combined firm of Gray and Dodsworth relocated from 75 Low Petergate to Duncombe Place. The firm of W.H. Cobb and Son, at 19 Blake Street, remained there until 1939. By the time of the next published City Directory (1949-1950), the Cobb in charge of the firm (likely the son of Cecil Henry Cobb at this point) had become a partner in the firm of Gray and Dodsworth, which then became Gray, Dodsworth, and Cobb, which it remained until at least 1975.