Which are the five oldest UK companies?

It won't be a surprise to many to see Royal Mail in the top 5

Here at Skipton Business Finance, we are proud to have a long and esteemed history of providing invoice finance facilities to UK businesses. But there are a few other companies who have been trading for a little bit longer!

We document our favourite 5 oldest companies still running in the UK:

1. Royal Mint

UK’s proud history of economic excellence arguably began over 1,100 years ago in 886 with the foundation of the Royal Mint.

As well as minting coins for use in the UK, it also produces and exports coins and medals to many other countries, making it the world’s leading exporting Mint.

Founded in Tower Hill, London, it moved its headquarters to Llantrisant, Wales in 1968, where it occupies 38 acres and employs 765 people.

2. Shore Porters Society

Founded in Aberdeen in 1498, six years after Columbus discovered America, the Shore Porters Society is a removals, haulage and storage company.

It has a fleet of 70 lorries and vans and still operates from Aberdeen as well as its newer base in Richmond-Upon-Thames, London.

A group of porters, or Pynours, joined together to start the company, in what must be one of the old cooperatives in existence!

3. Royal Mail

One of the less surprising entries in our top 10, the Royal Mail was founded in 1516 when King Henry VIII established a ‘master of poets’, a post which eventually evolved into Postmaster General.

It was a service first made available to the public in 1635, with postage being paid by the recipient.

It’s had its fair share of controversy surround it in recent years; not least with the attempt to rebrand the company as ‘Consignia’ and its decision to raise stamp prices dramatically in 2012. But it is still a postal service that the UK can be extremely proud of.

4. Cambridge University Press

Another company founded in the era of King Henry VIII in 1534, it is the world’s oldest publishing house and the second largest university press in the world.

University printing did not begin until 1583, when first practising University Printer, Thomas Thomas, was appointed.

It has continuously produced books since 1583, with Isaac Newton, Stephen Hawking and John Milton some of the most famous authors it’s published books for.

5. Whitechapel Bell Foundry

This bell foundry based in Whitechapel, London is officially the oldest manufacturing company in the UK, as listed in the Guinness Book Records, dating back to at least 1570.

Its main source of income is the manufacture of church bells and their fittings / accessories.

Westminster Abbey, Big Ben and Canterbury Cathedral are just a few places where its bells can be found.

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