The UK’s ten oldest family businesses
R J Balson and Son, 1535R J Balson and Son are Britain’s oldest family butchers. The Balson family have been butchers since 1535 and deal in only the finest meat, poultry and game.
John Brooke and Sons Holdings Ltd, 1541A diversified property business which historically was based around the mills. The land, previously used for grazing sheep by nuns, was inherited. Starting off as a wool mill, John Brooke and Sons later expanded to fine cloth. Brooke mill is now a Heritage Office Park.
Whitechapel Bell Foundry, 1570Whitechapel Bell Foundry supplies bells to suit most types of precision clock. Always having been a family business, the Whitechapel Bell Foundry has not always been in the same family. The Hughes family became associated with the company in 1884 when Arthur Hughes arrived as manager, subsequently purchasing the business in 1904.
R Durtnell & Sons Limited, 1591Founded over 400 years ago, the firm is by far the oldest building contractor in Britain. It is also unique in that it has been handed down as a private company, father-to-son, for fourteen generations.
Tissimans, 1601Tissimans was established in 1601 as a tailor, draper and undertaker, in the historic building opposite St. Michael’s Church in Bishop’s Stortford. Tissiman sells menswear and wedding hire, originally under the name “Slaters”.
C Hoare & Co, 1672The United Kingdom’s leading independent private bank. Founded in 1672, the bank was wholly owned by the Hoare family and continued to be guided and led by the descendants of the bank’s founder. C. Hoare & Co is the only private bank from the 17-18th centuries still remaining.
Morning Foods, 1675With Oat Milling expertise dating back to 1675, Morning Foods is Europe’s premier Oatmiller. Based in the heart of the United Kingdom, Cheshire, the mill was strategically placed to source the finest oats from the best farmers & growers. Morning Foods use their oats for a wide range of uses, from cereal to cosmetics.
James Lock & Co Ltd, 1676Founded in 1676, Lock & Co. is a family owned business providing ladies’ and gentlemen’s quality head-wear with a high standard of personal service developed from 300 years of experience. Starting off as a city tradesman of Turkish goods, Lock didn’t create the company untill the Great Fire of London made them relocate further West.
Toye & Co, 1685Toye craftsmen have created exceptional identity products for civil and military markets since 1685. The firm has grown and diversified but the original values are unchanged – superb craft skills, quality and service.
Folkes Group Plc, 1697Folkes Holdings, which has been under family control since 1697, specialises in commercial property development and investment in the United Kingdom and the Republic of South Africa. During the years, they have provided equity to third party property owners and landowners. Image source By Shané Schutte
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