The two companies, both owned by the Woburn property group Cooper Beard, had closed permanently during lockdown.
However, Holloway’s will now reopen, holding its first sale under the new ownership on September 12.
Consignors paid out
In August, Russell Beard, director at Cooper Beard and proprietor of both Holloway’s and Charles Ross Auctioneers, sent letters to creditors stating that the firms were insolvent and had ceased trading. He told ATG that, while money was owed to the firms’ suppliers, “no consignors have been left unpaid – 100%”.
Charles Ross Auctioneers (acquired by Cooper Beard in 2007 from auctioneer and TV personality Charlie Ross who since then has had no connection with the company) held its last sale on March 23 with Holloway’s (added to the portfolio following the retirement of Nick Williams in 2015) last selling on February 15.
Hanson and Beard had been in discussion about a possible sale before the lockdown period.
As leases on both properties (the Old Town Hall Saleroom in Woburn and the Parsons Street saleroom in Banbury) were expiring this year, the owners were considering their position.
However, Beard said the restrictions imposed by the pandemic had brought the matter to a head. “Covid was the tipping point. Going back would be like starting up a new business.”
While both existing companies will be wound up in the coming weeks, Hanson has purchased the assets and is in discussions to rehire some of the former staff as part of the new venture. He said he expected senior valuers James Lees and Jasper Marsh to stay with the company.
“I decided to grasp the opportunity. They will be a good bolt-on to the rest of the business. Holloway’s is a well-provenanced Oxfordshire business.
“It has been through a tough time of late, but it is a company with a real heart in the area.”
The future of the Woburn saleroom is currently undecided.
Charles Hanson opened his Derbyshire saleroom in 2005.
The firm currently conducts sales under the Hansons brand in three locations: from the firm’s headquarters in Etwall; the Normansfield Theatre in Teddington, south-west London; and Bishton Hall, Staffordshire, the Georgian manor house purchased last year as a venue for quarterly country house sales.