Although just over 30 years’ old as a company, Caxtons can trace its roots back over 200 years!
Caxtons commenced trading on 1st June 1990, having been formed by 12 directors together with a number of staff who left GA Property Services (part of the General Accident Insurance Group which has evolved into what is now Aviva). Graham Mitchell is one of the founding directors of Caxtons and the last to still be working within the Company.
The founding directors all came from long established and well respected traditional surveying practices: Porter & Cobb, Prall Champion & Prall, and Worsfolds. Porter & Cobb and Prall Champion & Prall merged to form Porter Cobb & Prall in 1984, subsequently becoming Cobbs, the first chartered surveyors in the country to become a limited company when rule changes permitted it in the mid-1980s. Cobbs was acquired by General Accident shortly after, followed by a number of other prominent local firms including Worsfolds in East Kent.
Whilst Porter & Cobb and Prall Champion & Prall could trace their roots back to 1837 and 1893 respectively, Worsfolds’ history started with a Mr James Worsfold in 1821. The first record of the firm was authenticated by the Guardian Assurance Company Ltd, when James Worsfold became one of the first Agents for the company in 1821.
The timing of the creation of Caxtons was far from ideal, being at the start of what at the time seemed to be a very deep and prolonged recession, although nothing like what was to come in the few years after 2007/2008.
However, over the last 15 years or so the business has grown and developed into a company which now employs nearly 100 staff, operating from offices in Gravesend, Canterbury, Gillingham and Maidstone. The Company continues to be owned and run by its five equity directors, having a strong financial base and being pretty much debt free.
Caxtons has grown over the years by a mixture of organic growth and a number of strategic acquisitions. The most significant of these being the purchase of the property management business from Walter & Randall in the Medway
Towns (when our now managing director, Neil Chatterton, joined Caxtons) and Collins & Co in Canterbury, which included a student lettings and management department. Whilst we do not have a philosophy of growing for the sake of growing, we do actively manage and develop the firm, our most recent purchases being the small, predominantly commercial management business from Hummerstone & Hawkins in Welling and Humphreys Skitt in Greenwich.
The current directors of Caxtons are always looking at ways to improve the servicing and offering that the firm can provide to its clients, without detracting from its strong core business.