If you’re a fan of local history, you’ll be pleased to hear Kent has several businesses that date back hundreds of years.
Businesses that have lasted so long are an inspiration to many start up companies, and if nothing else, they have some incredible stories to tell.
So which are the oldest businesses in Kent, and where can you find them?
R Durtnell and Sons
Nowadays, we’ve all heard of at least a few different building companies, but R Durtnell and Sons is the oldest of its kind in Britain. It was founded in 1591 and was Britain’s first building company.
Hundreds of building companies go bankrupt each year, but R Durtnell and Sons has stayed strong since the 16th century. And if 400 years of building isn’t enough to convince you of their skills, some of their buildings from hundreds of years ago are still standing today.
You can find this family run business in Brasted, near Westerham in Kent.
Shepherd Neame Brewey
Another of not just Kent’s oldest, but Britain’s oldest businesses. Shepherd Neame is Britain’s oldest brewer, founded in 1698, and visiting this brewery in Faversham will be a truly historical experience. Plus, it’s a great excuse for a trip to the pub!
As well as serving your favourite alcoholic drinks though, Shepherd Neame also offers tours showing behind the scenes of beer making. You’ll get the chance to try samples and buy souvenirs in the visitor centre and shop.
This is a business that many people have had the pleasure of running, but one that’s not quite as well known. This shop in Chiddingstone is England’s oldest shop, and whilst it’s changed quite a lot over the years, it’s still a handy little local shop, selling local goods and souvenirs. Founded in 1593, it’s the oldest business on our list, and the quaintest.
There are also now tea rooms attached to the shop, so you can make a real event of visiting this old business.
This business manufactures something we all use everyday, hairbrushes. They were the world’s first hairbrush manufacturer, founded in 1777.
They now sell a lot more than just hairbrushes though, their products ranging from makeup brushes to toothbrushes, to decorating brushes. So when it comes to brushes, Kent Brushes really are the experts.