Founders: William Timpson
Currently owned by: John Timpson and James Timpson
Timpson established in 1865 by William Timpson, great grandfather of current chairman, John Timpson. William opened the first shop in Oldham Street, Manchester. It started by making, selling and repairing shoes but has added key cutting, phone repairs and engraving into its repertoire.
It’s almost always been a family business, apart from “a break” in the 1970s and 1980s with a management buyout from UDS. In 1983 UDS was acquired by Hanson Trust who quickly agreed a venture capital-backed management buyout led by John Timpson.
As mentioned, John Timpson is the current chairman and owns the business with his son, James. James Timpson has been chief executive since 2002 and is a regular columnist in The Times.
The company runs employee schemes such as free holiday homes, dreams come true and weekly lotteries alongside mental health support. James pioneered the recruitment of ex-offenders and employs over 600 prison leavers, which is about 10 per cent of the company. He’s also chair of the Prison Reform Trust as well as supporting prison charities and support groups.
Timpson has grown massively, with almost 2,000 stores and 119 Snappy Snaps photo franchise outlets throughout the UK and Ireland.