The origins of one of the region’s big financial powerhouses
PUBLISHED: 18:01 31 July 2018 | UPDATED: 18:01 31 July 2018
The ‘Scrutton’ in the financial services company Scrutton Bland dates back to the partnership of Alfred Scrutton and Francis Goodchild, who founded the firm in 1919 to help men returning from the Great War with their tax worries.
Income tax during the war had risen from a standard rate of 6% in 1914 to an astronomical 30% in 1918.
A serviceman would have earned £18 five shillings a year, so would not have met the income tax threshold, but those earning over £160 a year would have been liable. So, after the tumult of war there were many thousands of people whose financial affairs needed sorting out.
Mr Scrutton was one of nine siblings; two of his brothers had died in the war, and tragically his sister Eva, who was a nurse during the conflict, died in 1919 when the Spanish influenza epidemic swept the country. A strict Methodist and a Freemason, Mr Scrutton was teetotal throughout his life, although his grandson Tean admitted that “he did lapse a bit in his later years.” His routine was always to have a good lunch with his clients, followed by a half hour’s nap in the office, when the staff had to tiptoe past his door.
Scrutton and Goodchild set up their offices at The Thoroughfare in the centre of Ipswich, above what is now Coe’s newsagents and from certain angles and at particular times of the day you can still see the traces of the gold lettering that spelt out the company name.
In 1990, the two firms of Scrutton, Goodchild and Sanderson (in Ipswich) and Bland Fielden (in Colchester) merged to create Scrutton Bland.
In 2014 Scrutton Bland’s Ipswich offices were moved to Fitzroy House located on the site of Ipswich’s Temperance Hall, built in 1839 as a venue for the town’s societies and discussion groups under the auspices of the teetotal movement to persuade the population to abstain from alcohol.
It is an appropriate nod to teetotaller Alfred Scrutton, who would surely have approved of the successful development of the group.