July 19, 2019
George Francis White was a horse-mad young boy living on a remote farm in Weardale with very focused ambitions to achieve his dream of becoming a jockey. At age 16, he bought his first thoroughbred and spent almost all of his time breaking it in. Despite being sure his future lay within racing, and with the influence of his father, the late Frank White, George achieved both O Levels and A Levels and went off to Cirencester to study to become a Chartered surveyor.
Horses still loomed large in his life and George spent some time racing in point-to-points while working as a trainee land agent and assistant auctioneer. But a new ambition took hold; he identified an opportunity to set up on his own in Alnwick, and in 1979, George F. White was born.
George reflects: “I merely set out, like many others, to bring in enough money for my family. I am extremely proud of how the business has grown over the past 40 years; I have to say, even 40 years later, the challenge of each new job excites me as well as the drive of trying to do the best for our clients, many of whom have become my friends.”
Organic growth saw George F. White open its second office in Wolsingham in 1981, followed by several further offices across the North East and Yorkshire – most recently opening a city centre office in Newcastle to support client demand.
Engaging with young talent is something that the firm has championed since the team began to expand in the early days. Speaking about the talent that is coming through the business, George says: “I try to be the first in the office every morning and last to leave in the evening, however, I am amazed at how enthusiastic the youth of our business is. They truly are the future, and I am very proud to mentor them.”
In the early days, George managed the business, however, in 1995 he appointed his first managing partner, Hugh Fell, who took the helm until 2015 and was succeeded by the current managing partner, Robyn Peat.
Robyn first joined the business in 1989 as a graduate, just ten years after it was founded. He grew through the company, being mentored by George and playing an integral role in the evolution of services.
Robyn set out to build on the foundations laid by his predecessors, leading the business to further growth. The business initially serviced, mainly, tenant farmers; however, the clientele has rapidly diversified to landlords and commercial property owners as well as those looking for advice on managing their revenue streams or renewable energy. This has supported the success of steady expansion into a more urbanised market.
“I am proud to be part of a business which holds true to its heart; our commitment to both our clients and colleagues,” says Robyn. “The business is so much bigger than any individual within it but owes so much to our founding partner George who had the vision and application to create one of the leading property and business consultancies in the region.
“It’s safe to say it’s an exciting time for George F White and the firm intend to spend the rest of 2019 sharing their celebration of success and plans for the future with colleagues, clients and the wider business community across the region.”