We like to hear stories about London’s Midtown – and we have a few to tell ourselves. Since Charles Farebrother founded our firm 220 years ago, we’ve contributed three Lord Mayors, successfully advised our clients through World Wars and recessions, and continued to transform London to this day.
Our story is woven into the fabric of London. Which is why we’re still shaping Londoners’ lives today.
Above: Farebrother Senior Partner, Alistair Subba Row, addressed more than 150 clients, friends and business collaborators at a reception at The London Transport Museum to mark the firm's 220th year of giving property advice.
The Farebrother Timeline
1799 Founder Charles Farebrother signs his deed of apprenticeship, paying two shillings and sixpence to Joseph Brasbridge, a silversmith and cutler of 98 Fleet Street, London, now the Punch Tavern.
1825 Farebrother first acts for The Worshipful Society of Apothecaries and does so today.
1833 Charles Farebrother becomes Lord Mayor of London.
1830-1900 Railway development provides more business for Charles Farebrother and his successors, Frederick Clark and John Whittaker Ellis.
1850-75 Victorian boom leads to significant growth in commercial property. Auctioneers Farebrother, Clark and Lye have an annual turnover of approximately £1 million.
1907 Farebrother sells The London Coliseum.
1913 Farebrother-Ellis sells the premises that the Company last occupied - 1 Pemberton Row.
1920s The Company responds to changes in society by selling large estates and country houses such as Stowe House, Buckingham and Somerton Court, Somersetshire.
1931 Farebrother's association with theatres and theatreland continues with the selling of Royal Court Theatre in Sloane Square.
Post-1945 War prompts a focus on City and Holborn commercial property with major country house sales continuing into the 1950s.
1950s Farebrother assembles Lowndes Square Estate in Knightsbridge and has managed it ever since on behalf of Sun Life.
1986 ‘Big Bang' raises demand for office space in Central London.
1987 ‘Black Monday' causes office rents to fall significantly. The two events prompt Farebrother to lead research into the relationship between supply and demand for the first time.
1990s The Midtown market continues to grow. The Company acts for BT as telecoms markets tighten.
2002 Farebrother is appointed to manage the 25 residential apartments at 2-9 Cambridge Gate, Regent Park.
2005 Farebrother is appointed to manage 8 residential apartments at 10 Cambridge Gate, Regents Park, by The Crown Estate.
2006 In a key deal, Farebrother buys CAA House, one of the largest office buildings in the centre of London, for £140m.
2007 Client success in London Midtown markets leads Farebrother to increased activity in South Bank.
Farebrother, CBRE, Land Securities and The Royal Bank of Scotland establish the Midtown Business Club to promote London Midtown and co-ordinate improvements.
2009 Farebrother's Business Rates team wins close to £3m in savings for client businesses.
2010 Farebrother partner with the Investment Property Databank (IPD) to publish the first London Midtown Investment market Report and, from 2011, another first, a dedicated Investment market Report for the London South Bank market.
2011 Advised by Farebrother, Delancey & Invista sold 110 Fetter Lane to Legal & General, one of the largest transactions of the year in London Midtown.
2011 Advised by Farebrother, Oxford Properties acquired a 50% stake in Midtown landmark MidCity Place, High Holborn, from Beacon Capital.
2011 The Thomas Pocklington Trust, the sight-loss Charity, appoints Farebrother to manage its UK-wide portfolio of 250 properties, including 43 commercial buildings and over 200 residential tenancies.
2012 In response to occupier client demand for integrated, multi-disciplinary business Real Estate advice Farebrother launches its Corporate Real Estate service line.
2012 Farebrother celebrates the 20th Anniversary of its Asset and day-to-day Management of The Governing Body of Rugby School's London Estate of 180 Office, Retail and Residential units, centered around Lamb's Conduit Street in Bloomsbury.
2013 Farebrother appointed to market 44,500 sq ft of offices in the New Wing of World cultural hub Somerset House.
2013 Farebrother joined CORFAC International (Corporate Facility Advisors) as a new global affiliate for the UK.
2014 Farebrother sells 20 Old Bailey, London, EC4 for Mitsui Fudosan to Blackstone.
2014 Farebrother signs a joint venture agreement with Tuckerman Surveyors to set up a dedicated London South Bank based real estate advisory firm branded Union Street Partners.
2019 Farebrother is 220 years old this year but it was five years ago that the partnership realised we had to fundamentally change our business strategy. We had received offers to sell out and didn’t want to go down that route, but also realised that simply continuing in our London Midtown niche was not an option. It was Union Street Partners – our South Bank consultancy joint venture with Tuckerman – that was the turning point. It has become the most successful independent leasing and development consultant in the location and, equally importantly, showed us how to structure new ventures that diversify our business, develop new revenue streams and increase our market reach.
Since then we have launched Flexible Office Space which is our serviced office/co-working consultancy for landlords and occupiers; Sq. One Real Estate which specialises in London mixed-use and residential development consultancy; and, most recently, Tandem Property Asset Management which is being rolled out nationwide. In each instance, the businesses have been established by proven experts and supported through equity participation, administrative resource and the networking of a group of businesses which are very different but have many clients whose service needs intersect. This broadening of the business has been achieved without any dilution of Farebrother’s Midtown specialism. And it’s been a revelation to see how we could replicate in these businesses the same kind of dedication and focus on service excellence that has sustained our firm in the market for more than two centuries.
Farebrother 1799 - 1999. A Property Business over Two Hundred Years by John Butland Smith is available from booksellers (ISBN 1900289 23 7).
The majority of Farebrother's records are held at The Guildhall Library by the City of London. Search