Winkworth was the first estate agency to be franchised in the UK in the 1980’s by the current non-executive chairman, Simon Agace, but the company had in fact already been trading since 1835. Below we look at Winkworth’s journey over the last 184 years.
Established in 1835, the business was originally set up under the namesake of owner Samuel Donaldson in Curzon Street, Mayfair. The name was only changed to Winkworth eight years later in 1893, when Henry St. John Winkworth purchased the business.
Winkworth flourished under the watchful eye of Henry, who took to only doing business with the capital’s aristocracy. In fact, Henry did so well that he was able to educate his sons Edward Henry St. John and Henry Dixon at Harrow, who in turn both followed him into the Winkworth family business.
Unfortunately, Edward Henry St. John, the eldest of the two sons, died quite young, leaving Henry Dixon Winkworth, the last of the Winkworth family, to run the business.
The business sold to Mann and Co (now part of the Countrywide group) in 1960 but Henry Dixon remained working for the business as a consultant well into his retirement.
In 1974 Simon Agace bought the Winkworth business, which at the time had three offices located in the prestigious areas of Mayfair, Knightsbridge and Holland Park. Following a trip to America, Simon returned to London enthused after learning about the franchise business model that was so heavily used over there and set about turning Winkworth into a franchised operation. By 1981, Winkworth had expanded to 10 offices in key London boroughs.
In 2004, Winkworth had grown to 25 offices through franchising. It was at this time that Simon made the decision to become non-executive chairman of the business and handed the reigns to his son Dominic to run it.
In 2009, and as Winkworth’s CEO, Dominic successfully led Winkworth to float on AIM in order to fund further expansion plans across the UK. At that time, Winkworth had 55 offices in London and a further 19 outside the M25.
Over the years, the support team at Winkworth’s head office has grown from three staff members to 34. This is because Winkworth is always looking to evolve the business and offer further support to the now 100 strong network of offices across the UK. As well as accounts, IT, international, training and marketing and PR, Winkworth launched its client services department in early 2014, corporate relocations in 2015, in-house recruitment mid 2017 and most recently land and new homes in January 2019.
Winkworth was set up as a family run business, and it prides itself on remaining so today. It has grown from three offices to 100 in the last 45 years and continues to steadily grow year on year. If you would like to know more about owning a Winkworth office and enjoy the ongoing journey with the network, get in touch with the new franchising team today.