Our history

1896: Knight Frank & Rutley was founded as a valuations, surveying and auctions business. Its first sale was held on April 23rd at Conduit Street in London.

1897: The first recorded business property sale is achieved in November, when Knight Frank & Rutley sells a ‘cycle machinery and plant’ business in Batterseafor £270 11s 6d.

1898: Howard Frank, one of the founders, places the firm’s first full-page advertisement in the August edition of Country Life.

1909: William Rutley, a co-founder, dies of a heart attack.

1910: All staff move into 20 Hanover Square from Conduit Street.

1911: The Crystal Palace is sold to Lord Plymouth for £210,000.

1912: Howard Frank buys the estate agent, Walton & Lee, solely to secure the prime front page position in Country Life magazine.

1913: The Edinburgh office opens.

1914: Howard Frank, the senior partner, is knighted.

1915: Cecil Chubb buys Stonehenge through Knight Frank & Rutley for £6,600 as a present for his wife. She gives it to the nation three years later.

1917: Howard Frank is made Director General of the combined Directorate of Lands.

1921: The town of Reigate is sold by Knight Frank & Rutley for £203,840 – the first time the firm has disposed of an entire town.

1922: The firm handles the sale of Winston Churchill’s house and sells Chartwell to him.

1924: The Duke of Westminster sells Grosvenor House in Park Lane through Knight Frank & Rutley.

1925: Knight Frank & Rutley buys 40 acres north of Oxford Street for the Audley Trust.

1927: The firm advises on the site assembly for the BBC’s world famous headquarters, Broadcasting House in London.

1931: John Knight, a co-founder, dies.

1932: Sir Howard Frank dies.

1935: The contents of the Cunard Liner, Olympia, are sold.

1937: Most of the town of Lytham St Anne’s in Lancashire is sold – including the celebrated golf course.

1945: Knight Frank & Rutley sells the contents of the German Embassy, including 20 Nazi flags, 17 safes and a dog basket.

1958: Knight Frank & Rutley acquires offices in London’s Chiswell Street for BP – at the time, the UK’s largest-ever property transaction.

1964: The firm opens an office in Geneva as a gateway to Europe.

1965: Knight Frank & Rutley is established in Nigeria.

1968: The firm acquires Wheatley, Kirk, Price and Co.

1972: The Geneva office closes in favour of new offices in Amsterdam and Paris.

1974: Fountains Abbey, Yorkshire, dating back to 1132, is sold for £1 million.

1979: Knight Frank & Rutley sets up a New York office through a joint venture with Douglas Elliman.

1980: BP’s purchase of Britannic House for £93 million becomes the UK’s biggest single property deal ever.

1981: In New York, Douglas Elliman Knight Frank sells Pan-American World Airways Intercontinental Hotels Corporation to Grand Metropolitan for $500 million.

1983: Knight Frank & Rutley joins with a leading Hong Kong surveyor to form Knight Frank Kan and Baillieu. The Singapore office is established.

 

1984: The firm acquires additional premises at 5 Hanover Square to accommodate the growing number of London headquarters staff - 53 partners and 5 associates.

1986: Qantas Centre, Sydney, is sold for $200 million, becoming Australia’s largest single biggest property sale. Residential Development division is set up at the London Docklands office.

1996: On 1 January, ‘Rutley’ is dropped from the Knight Frank name, to strengthen a cohesive world-wide identity as part of a plan to expand international market share.

2000: Knight Frank sells the Duke of York’s Headquarters in Chelsea, London, on behalf of the Ministry of Defence. The firm increases its stake in the Australian business to 100%.

2003: Knight Frank becomes a Limited Liability Partnership.

2004: Knight Frank is ranked as one of The Sunday Times 100 Best UK Companies to Work For.

2005: The firm is appointed to advise on the development of London’s new Olympic Village, ready for the 2012 Games. Establishes Rutley Capital Partners, its real estate private equity business.

2006: With effect from 1 January, Knight Frank establishes a global real estate partnership with leading New York-based real estate service firm Newmark Knight Frank, formerly Newmark.

2007: Increases equity to 100% in Indian operations which now total seven offices and 807 people. Knight Frank expands to more than 165 offices in over 36 countries on six continents, with over 5,000 locally-based professional staff handling £billions of real estate annually.

2008: Knight Frank leaves Hanover Square, its home since 1910, and moves to its new Global HQ in the landmark building at 55 Baker Street, London W1.

2009: Newmark Knight Frank is appointed leasing agent for the world famous Empire State Building.

2010: Knight Frank is appointed on London’s new skyscraper, The Shard, set to be the tallest landmark building in Europe.

2011: Knight Frank successfully pitches for the agency instruction to sell the 40 acre Battersea Power Station site, consisting of eight million square feet of mixed used property.

Knight Frank launches multi-lingual website, introduces a new property app iPhone and iPad and is listed in the Daily Telegraph Top 10 property apps.

2012: Knight Frank’s commercial and residential research teams launch My Knight Frank - a comprehensive library of past and present research publications.

Knight Frank wins the Best Corporate Research award for the London 2016 initiative at the 2012 Property Marketing Awards.