Searching for the ‘oldest family firms in Essex’

Family firms are the backbone of the UK economy, and Essex is no exception. To shine a light on the county’s family- owned businesses and celebrate their contribution to the economy and wider community, Rickard Luckin has teamed up with Family Business United to find the oldest family firms across Essex.
Published in Essex Director magazine, Summer|Autumn 2022

There has been a great response to the campaign so far, with over 30 multi-generational family firms that are over 100 years old, having been identified (subject to verification) throughout the county.

These include:

– Marriages Flour based in Chelmsford, which started milling wheat in 1824 from its original mill in Broomfield, Essex.

– Nicholls & Clarke Limited based in Romford, which was founded in 1875 and manufactures and distributes building products.

– Hatfields, the furniture and interiors retailer based in Colchester, which was established in 1886.

– Renalls Jewellers in Southend on Sea. Established in 1890, it is the oldest pawn brokers and jewellers continually trading from the same premises on Clifftown Road.

As Paul Andrews, Founder and CEO of FBU explains, “We already know of plenty of long-standing family firms across Essex that have successfully passed down through the generations, but we are now seeking to compile a list of the oldest in the county. This is a great way to showcase the longevity of the sector and to highlight the contribution family firms have made for so many years too. We know that family firms are at the heart of communities across Essex and we want to make sure that as many are represented as possible. We look forward to sharing the completed research piece in due course.”

The research project is being sponsored by Rickard Luckin. Steve Revill, Managing Director at Rickard Luckin said: “Essex has a large number of multi- generational family firms, including the many we are proud to have as our longstanding clients. So we are launching our search for the oldest family business in Essex. Through this research, we hope to uncover family businesses, both large and small, which have been at the heart of the Essex economy for many years. We are looking forward to shining a light on family owned businesses throughout the county and celebrating their history and heritage.”

If you know of family businesses that were formed before 1922 and continue under family ownership today, please encourage them to take part in the campaign by simply completing the short form online at

To mark the inaugural piece of research, a special issue of the Essex Business Podcast featuring Paul Andrews and James Boustead (Tax Director at Rickard Luckin) has been recorded. Episode 24 of the popular podcast highlights what makes this sector so special and some of the challenges that this community faces, such as succession planning, family conflict and tax planning.

Listen online at, or download episode 24 from your usual podcast provider (search ‘Essex Business Podcast). You can also subscribe and be among the first to listen to each episode on its release each month.

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