England’s Oldest Family Firms
23rd April 2015
To celebrate St George's day, we take a look at the five oldest family businesses in England.
In England there are over two and a half million family owned firms, from local shops to well-loved national and international brands.
The longevity and enduring success of these businesses is testament to their innovative and long term outlook. At the IFB we are proud to celebrate and support family businesses as they continue to build on success for generations to come.
R.J. Balson & Son - 1515
In 1535, John Balson began trading meat at the local market in Bridport, Dorset and the family have been trading from the same shop since 1880. The shop is still run by the Balson family and sells over 20 different varieties of sausage with many culinary awards between them. www.rjbalson.co.uk
John Brooke & Sons Limited - 1541
Starting as a mill in 1541, in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, this company has provided uniforms for the armed forces, including the Napoleonic wars and both World Wars. During the Second World War this inlcuded a heavy felted cloth sandwiched with rubber placed around the fuel tanks of Lancaster Bombers. The company's focus has changed in recent years, moving from manufacturing to creating an entrepreneurial development park in the firm's old mill buildings. www.brookesmill.co.uk
R Durtnell & Sons Limited - 1591
Britain's oldest building company - the first recorded mention of building is 22 July 1591 and the company head office, in Westerham, Kent, stands on land that the family has occupied since 1496. Projects undertaken by the company have included restoration and extension work on Clarence House, and they constructed pill boxes and tank traps during the war years. www.durtnell.co.uk
C. Hoare & Co. - 1672
Based in London, this is the last survivor of the English private deposit banks that were originally established in the 17th and 18th centuries and is one of the oldest private, independent banks in the world. The family's pride in close customer relationships and meticulous service has attracted famous customers, including Samuel Pepys, furniture makers Thomas Chippendale & Son, Lord Byron, Jane Austen and various prime ministers.www.hoaresbank.co.uk
Morning Foods - 1675
Morning Foods, is the longest established miller of oats and cereal in the UK and its cereal products include the Mornflake brand. They have been milling oats in the South Cheshire countryside since 1675, and 15 generations later, they are still independently owned and managed by the direct descendants of the original miller, William Lea. www.morningfoods.com