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Chamber Chat with David Park

As Time Goes By

I was at a Lancaster and Morecambe Chamber of Commerce breakfast meeting last week where business anniversaries were mentioned by a few of the speakers.  Lancaster and Morecambe College is approaching its 200th birthday, whilst Pye Motors is nearly 100. Another business talked of 30 years.  The first mention of the firm I work for, Oglethorpe Sturton and Gillibrand, is from 1810.

It led me to do some research and thinking on the oldest businesses in our area.  Last year the Lancaster Guardian published an article about the 19 oldest businesses in Lancaster.  The oldest identified was the Charter Market from 1193, though it’s debatable as to whether that counts as a business.  I’m not sure what it says about our city that 5 of the oldest 10 businesses were pubs or hotels.

Lancashire County Council has also published some research which identified BSG Solicitors as the oldest independent business in Lancashire from 1720, though it’s not clear whether this was the Preston or Lancaster office.  The oldest business definitely located in the Lancaster City Council area was James Baxter & Son, Potted Shrimps in Morecambe, from 1799.  The Lancashire list had 7 firms of solicitors in the top 10.

What was clear from the talks by the speakers was that there was a sense of pride in working for businesses that had served their customers and clients for so long. If we think for a moment how life has changed from 1720, 1799 or even 1994, it is a great achievement for a business to stay relevant ( and profitable!).  From my own experience, it does give a sense of perspective to be part of something that has been going so long and (hopefully) will be carrying on long after my time. There is a sense of gratitude and connection to colleagues and clients of the firm from over 200 years who have made it all possible.