Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Est. 1591

Pictured above is Whitehall, a rather wonderful survival in the Surrey suburban village of Cheam. This historic house is now undergoing a big refurbishment, and as a result much of it is enclosed by hoardings. They bear the name of the company doing the building work - 'R. Durtnell & Sons, Est. 1591'.
 Yes, established 1591 - that's the kind of vintage you don't often come across in these times, when 'Est. 2011' is considered an index of probity and long standing. But how reliable is that 'Est. 1591'? Is the present company really that old? The answer is emphatically yes: this is a family firm that has come down from father to son through 13 generations, and is still based in its original home town, Brasted in Kent. One of the Durtnells' first buildings was Poundsbridge Manor [below], built by John and Brian Durtnall (as it was then spelt) in 1593. When the house was hit by a stray bomb in the Second World War, R. Durtnell & Sons were called in to rebuild the damaged parts, and the Manor is still in splendid shape, a highly desirable (and phenomenally expensive) private house.
  It's good to know that a company of similar vintage to the house is at work on restoring Whitehall.


  1. I was at school in West London with a daughter of, I believed, this family 60 years ago.

  2. There must be a lot of them around. I'm wondering whether to put 'Est. 2008' at the top of this blog...? Maybe not.