125th Birthday

26th October 2015

South Yorkshire accountants celebrate 125th birthday

Article by Capital B Media.

Gibson Booth Team Photo

 

A Barnsley accountancy firm, which was set up when Queen Victoria was on the throne, is celebrating its 125th birthday.

Gibson Booth Limited can trace its roots back to James Gibson who set up his chartered accountancy business in August 1890 on Regent Street in Barnsley. His grandson Robin, who also worked in the firm, only died in 2006.

The company, which now has its offices on Victoria Road in the town centre, has 29 staff and a turnover which has been growing year on year.

Managing director Robert Watson said: “It’s amazing to think the company dates back to a time when Queen Victoria was the monarch and take home pay was in shillings.

“But the fact that the company has lasted so long shows that we must be doing something right. In fact Gibson Booth Ltd hasn’t just lasted, it has thrived. We are now the one of the biggest accountancy firms in Barnsley and are growing all the time.”

James Gibson, who set up the firm at Post Office Chambers on Regent Street 125 years ago, was followed by his two sons, Herbert and James, into the business.

The company, then known as James Gibson and Son, moved to Union Bank Chambers on Royal Street in the town, and Robin Gibson, son of James junior, joined the family firm. Herbert died in 1960 and Robin, who died in 2006, aged 80, is remembered by many of the current staff.

“I wonder how James who set up the business all those years ago would feel about the way things are now,” said Robert.

“Life has got so much more complicated and accountancy has too. There are always new rules and regulations to keep on top of. But one tradition we haven’t lost over the years is personal service; that is still at the heart of everything we do.”

Gibson Booth Ltd offers services including accounting, auditing, personal tax planning and corporate tax planning; together with specialisms including VAT, payroll, capital taxes, research and development tax planning, employee incentivisation, corporate finance and wealth management .

In 1890:
• A house-keeper could expect to earn about £35 a year; a shop assistant about £30; a bank clerk up to £150; a miner £1 a week, and a matchbox maker about 1 shilling and 6 pence per day.

• Renting a house in the suburbs of London could cost as little as 10 shillings a week. Very few people owned their homes.

• Council housing was born with the 1890 Housing of the Working Classes Act, which allowed London’s local councils to build houses, as well as clear away slums.

• The Lunacy Act 1890 meant the treatment of “lunatics” was no longer just a private matter and people could be detained in asylums.

• From the 1890s onwards servants were allowed one week’s holiday a year.

• Infant mortality in England and Wales peaked in the 1890s at approximately 150 deaths per 1000 births.

• Those that did survive beyond childhood were unlikely to survive beyond their late 40s.

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