Over fifty years ago I joined the old established firm of Estate Agents, Sturt & Tivendale, here in Highgate and am the most experienced Estate Agent in the area. That was back in the day when petrol cost 32p a gallon (approx. 7p per litre) and I drove a Ford Anglia. My early duties seemed to involve printing plenty of details on the old Roneo duplicator, folding them in a manual folding machine, and much sending of property particulars by post.
In 1988, the old agency joined the Black Horse group (the second firm), part of national Bank, and ten years later was purchased by Bradford & Bingley (the third firm), a Building Society. In late 2000, the office became part of Day Morris (the fourth firm), an independent company handling business in much the same way as the original company. In total, I have worked here over five decades with four firms but basically one job. Nowadays there are many more Estate Agents here, in 1969 there were just three.
Recessions may have come and gone over the years but what is certain is that property prices have increased incredibly. In the early days we had houses for sale in Sheldon Avenue and Stormont Road for £35,000 to £40,000. They would today be £7 to 8 million. Highgate has long been the place of choice for the rich and famous to live and is the location of Witanhurst, a grade II listed mansion, the second largest private residence in London after Buckingham Palace.
Things have changed somewhat in other ways with the introduction of the internet and email (hardly any more sending details by post) but the main business dealing with people has changed little – it remains a people business.
It is so nice seeing people coming back over the years as their requirements change and, as they often do, move around Highgate. One recent sale was a house in Holly Lodge Estate, I sold to a lady in 1974 for £32,000 and I have just sold it for her for nearly £1.600,000.
It has been a pleasure working here for the past fifty years, amazing where the years go, during that time I have been involved in selling thousands of homes and meeting many wonderful people.