St Neots family firm makes history with 110 years in business
- Credit: Archant
When Brittains started life in St Neots, King Edward VII was on the throne, US army engineers had just begun work on the Panama Canal, and Henry Ford had set a record by pushing a car to its limits, reaching a top speed of 91mph.
With the backdrop of these events on the world stage, a family were busy making history of their own.
In 1904, they started a business that would stand the test of time over the next century.
That year, Frank Brittain set up his first shop in St Neots Road, Eaton Ford, selling second-hand cycles and furniture.
Four years later, he was joined in the business by his brother Archie, who was just 12 and would help out by doing the paraffin delivery round, using a hand cart, and would also repair the cycles.
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Their removal service helped families to move home and they sold this part of the business about 15 years ago.
The shop carried on serving the community when, in 1940, Frank formed a company with the full name Brittains Furnishers Ltd. After several locations in the town, the firm settled at its address on the High Street in 1924.
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Over the years, the family extended the shop by filling in the yard at the back and buying a number of surrounding buildings. It also has a warehouse in Eaton Socon.
Frank and Archie were followed by their sons Ronald and James. Ronald retired in 1985 and James’ two sons – Nigel and Adrian – run the company while James is chairman.
This month, the 12-strong team at the store is celebrating Brittains’ 110th year. But rather than throw a party, they have been running promotions to mark the occasion.
Sales director Adrian Brittain said: “It was originally started by my grandfather and his brother – it’s nice that we have managed to survive that long.
“We have never grown to an enormous size but it is nice that we are still going. We still state we are serving the community.”