Professor William O’Hara, in his book ‘Centuries of Success’, asked: “Is there any institution more enduring or universal than a family business?” He himself answered this rhetorical question by stating: “Before the multinational corporation, there was family business. Before the Industrial Revolution, there was family business. Before the enlightenment of Greece and the empire of Rome, there was family business.”

As living proof, a shopkeeper in Britain recently celebrated the 500th anniversary of his business. RJ Balson & Sons, the butcher’s shop in Bridport, Dorset is said to be the oldest family company in Britain. They argue that personalized service is the secret behind their longevity, while experts believe that family businesses like these survive, as they stand for creating a legacy rather than making quick profits. A list of the top 10 oldest UK family businesses takes us way back in history.

Ranking

Business 

Founded

County  Industry 

1

RJ Balson & Son

1515

Dorset Butchers

2

R Durtnell & Sons

1591

Kent Builders

3

C Hoare & Co

1672

London Bankers

4

Mornflake

1675

Cheshire Millers

5

James Lock & Co.

1676

London Hatters

6

Toye, Kenning & Spencer

1685

West Midlands Jewelers

7

CPJ Field

1690

West Sussex Undertakers

8

Folkes Group

1697

West Midlands Property developers

9

Berry Bros& Rudd

1698

London Wine Merchants

10

Shepherd Neame

1698

Kent Brewers

Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/shopping-and-consumer-news/11884525/Britains-oldest-family-business-RJ-Balson-running-since-Tudor-days.html  http://www.griequity.com/resources/industryandissues/familybusiness/oldestinworld.html