What is the secret behind UK’s oldest businesses?
Considering around 240,000 businesses collapse every year in the UK, getting through the first few years of trading can be tough for any firm. Reaching the decade milestone, is quite an achievement and companies that have been going for 25 years or more are considered corporate veterans.
Though many businesses will fail, close down or sell up, there are some companies out there that simply won’t cease trading. With over two thousand years of experience between them, let’s take a look at what keeps these incredibly resilient businesses going strong.
RJ Balson & Son, Dorset, 1515
Having recently celebrated its 500th anniversary, RJ Balson & Son is officially the oldest UK business still in the same family.
Having started out as a market stall in the early 16th century, this family butchers has survived the English Civil War, the Reformation, the Black Death, the Industrial Revolution and both World Wars.
So what’s kept this remarkable business going when the overall number of butchers in the UK has fallen 60% in the last two decades? Well, according to the owner it’s all down to the personal service they provide.
And having served many of their customers parents, grandparents and even great grandparents, it’s no wonder that this ancient butcher can provide a personal service like no other.
R Durtnell & Son, Kent, 1591
Having been handed down from father to son for thirteen generations, R Durtnell & Son is another family firm that shows no signs of stopping.
Founded in 1591, this building company’s first project was Poundsbridge Manor which they completed in 1593. When the manor was damaged by a bomb in World War Two, it was R Durtnell & Son that performed the restoration.
C Hoare & Co, London, 1672
Compared to the previous two companies we’ve looked at, this 17th century bank looks positively wet behind the years.
Founded in 1672, the bank is the oldest in the UK and the fourth oldest in the world. Owned by the 11th generation of the same family, C Hoare & Co provides private banking and financial services to high-net-worth individuals and families.
Mornflake, Cheshire, 1675
Though the Mornflake cereal company was only launched in 1941, the family behind the business has been milling oats in Cheshire since 1675.
Like the other businesses on our list, Mornflake has been in the same family for generations, using years of acquired expertise to produce a high quality product.
So what’s the secret to their longevity? Well the one thing all of these businesses have in common is that they’ve stayed in the same families for generations. With owners that care and traditions that matter, these long lasting companies have built reputations that could well last another 500 years.