Family owned and run since 1892
The founding of Hortons can be traced back to Isaac Horton, who was born in 1821. He used income generated by his family’s West Bromwich-based provisions, butchery and cheese factoring concerns to create a substantial property and provisions business.
Upon his death, the business was left to his eldest son, John, and the residue of his Estate was split between his remaining six sons. In 1892, when the youngest son turned 21, Hortons’ Estate Ltd was incorporated, with each son owning one share. The Estate was then valued at £600,000 with mortgages totalling £160,000 and included properties in Birmingham, West Bromwich, Walsall and Wolverhampton.
Since then, Hortons has remained family owned and run, and has continued to develop its property portfolio in the West Midlands, while expanding further into hotels, brewing, commercial and retail development. In 2022, the company’s net assets were valued in excess of £192m.
Isaac Horton began his professional career in his father’s butcher’s shop before becoming a successful butcher and provision merchant, and later a wholesale and retail pork butcher. As a young man he bought houses in West Bromwich and soon set about building a substantial property business. He went on to own the freehold of a number of premises in the busiest parts of Wolverhampton as well as shops with houses in Dudley, West Bromwich and Walsall. Isaac foresaw the impact the railways would have on visitors to Birmingham and in the 1870s moved into the city’s New Street where he acquired various ground leases, demolishing the old buildings and erecting new shops, office blocks and the Midland Hotel. He also built The Grand Hotel in Colmore Row, a short walk from Birmingham’s Snow Hill Station, which was completed less than two years before his death.
In the early 1900s, Hortons acquired Atkinsons Brewery and expanded its food and beverage operations.
During this time period, Hortons was growing fast, buying up properties in both Birmingham and Wolverhampton. It was also instrumental in developing a significant amount of the centre of Wolverhampton and building some of its earliest steel and concrete framed properties.
In 1912, the company developed one of the first concrete framed buildings in Birmingham city centre, known as the White House. Between the wars, development works in New Street and Bennetts Hill served to both expand and improve the company’s comprehensive portfolio in Birmingham.
The company also ran the Grand Hotel in Colmore Row until 1969 and the Midland Hotel (now the Burlington), in New Street. It still retains the ownership of both buildings.
In recent years Hortons has continued to grow and diversify its property portfolio. Whilst maintaining its historic strength in Birmingham, the company has added properties in Coventry, Stafford, Derby and Corby; by 2023 rental income exceeded £24m per annum.
A trading and development business has been created and this has already completed a number of successful schemes, both in Hortons’ own name and with a series of joint venture partners.
All of the activities were managed from the Estate Office at 31a Colmore Row, where the company had been based since the early part of the twentieth century. Management values remain unchanged and staff are encouraged to take a proactive approach to working with the Estate’s tenants that now number 450.