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Scotland's Oldest Family Businesses

Back in 2013, FBU compiled the first ever report into the oldest family businesses in Scotland and uncovered some real gems in the process.

The oldest family firm in Scotland dates back to 1715, John White & Sons Limited, who in 2015 celebrated their Tercentenary.

Scotland is awash with family firms and since producing the first report we have continued our research and add new firms to the online listing on a regular basis. Whilst the inaugural report was published in 2013, the updated list revealing the oldest family businesses in Scotland is below:

Scotland's Oldest Family Firms

  1. John White & Son Limited (1715)

  2. Rankin Brothers & Sons (1774)

  3. Macnaughton Holdings Limited (1783)

  4. Montrose Rope and Sail (1789)

  5. Thomas Taylor (Bowls) Ltd (1796)

  6. Johnstons of Elgin (1797)

  7. J. Hewit & Sons Ltd (1806)

  8. Christies (Fochabers) Ltd (1820)

  9. James Jones & Sons Ltd (1838)

  10. Thomson's Coffee Roasters (1841)

  11. C&W Summers Glazing (1848)

  12. James Porter & Son (1858)

  13. Smith Anderson Group Ltd (1859)

  14. James Donaldson & Sons Ltd (1860)

  15. Gordon Timber (1862)

  16. James Walker (Leith) Ltd (1863)

  17. The Royal Burgh Bakery (1865)

  18. Glenfarclas (1865)

  19. The Denholm Group (1866)

  20. Baxters Food Group (1868)

  21. Kinloch Anderson (1868)

  22. Crieff Hydro Limited (1868)

  23. James Cordiner & Son Limited (1870)

  24. Mathieseons Bakery Limited (1872)

  25. JC Peacock & Co Ltd (1874)

As Paul Andrews, Founder and CEO of Family Business United explains, "Just like countries all over the world, Scotland is awash with family firms making a huge impact not only on the Scottish economy, but further afield too."

"All too often, family businesses are discredited for the contribution that they make and dismissed as small business but the inaugural report in 2013 and subsequent revisions goes a long way to disproving some of the myths surrounding family businesses, their ability to stand the test of time and their achievements in terms of size and impact too."

"Family firms are the backbone of the Scottish economy and we have uncovered some real gems in compiling this list. Not only do they all contribute significantly to the economy in terms of employment, income generated and wealth created but they have a major impact on the communities in which they operate, as they have done for may years and across multiple generations of their families too."

"These businesses have been around for generations and hopefully will remain as family businesses for many generations to come."

In compiling the inaugural report the team at Family Business United used various means to make it as comprehensive and accurate as possible. However, due to the fact that there is no legal requirement to disclose the status of the underlying ownership in business it is not an easy process. We used our networks, connections at trade bodies and extensive desktop research to determine the oldest family firms in Scotland in 2013 but were not able to say unequivocally that there were not a few other hidden gems out there.

From time to time another long-standing family firm is brought to our attention and after the necessary research and confirmations have been obtained, the business is added and the list updated. If you are aware of a family business that needs to be considered for inclusion then please do not hesitate to get in touch so that we can update the list accordingly.


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