If you’re a businessperson who’s not of the opinion that the UK’s impending exit from the EU will reestablish the nation as an unstoppable geopolitical force, these are probably very nervous days indeed.
And while there’s no point being flippant about the potential pitfalls of freefalling from the status quo without a safety net, there could be a silver lining amongst the clouds in the survival stories of five of Britain’s longest-lasting businesses.
R J Balson & Son
Butcher extraordinaire R J Balson & Son has been bashing out bacon and bangers to hungry Brits from its Bridport base since 1515.
It claims to be the oldest butcher in Europe as well as Britain, and currently ships marvellous meats across the USA too.
James Lock & Co.
It’s been said that if you want to get ahead, get a hat – advice that James Lock & Co have been following keenly since the firm was founded in 1676.
They’re still selling hats from their St. James’s street base in London today, although they now send stylish titfers far and wide thanks to a snazzy, new-fangled website.
Fact from the history vault: Admiral Lord Nelson made his final visit to this famous shop in 1805 and it created several bicorne hats for him throughout his career, complete with integrated eyepatches.
Property development might sound like a relatively new sector, but property gurus Folkes Group have a proud history that stretches back to 1697.
It’s a family run business with its roots in the West Midlands and now splits its commercial property operations between the UK and South Africa.
Fact from the history vault: Culloden, the last battle on mainland British soil, took place in 1746, when Folkes Group was a mere 49 years old.
Berry Bros. & Rudd
World renowned London wine and spirits merchant Berry Bros. & Rudd was founded in London back in 1698 and it’s been slaking the collective thirst of the masses ever since.
Its staple offering is fine wine from regions like Bordeaux, Burgundy and the Rhone and it employs no less than six Masters of Wine, but it’s also famous for launching the iconic Cutty Sark whisky in 1923.
Fact from the history vault: as well as generations of royals, famous past customers include Lord Byron and William Pitt the Younger.
At first glance, a business based on wire might not seem particularly promising, yet the specialist braid manufacturer Ormiston Wire has been going from strength to strength since 1793, when it was founded in the City of London by savvy Scotsman James Ormiston.
Since then, their products have been developed for a huge range of applications, from architectural sculptures to the British Antarctic Survey.
Fact from the history vault: the first Ormiston product was spring wire for corsets and wigs.
That’s our list! Share your own Brexit-proof businesses in the comments section.