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Our History

20 Hanover Square

1896

Knight Frank & Rutley is founded as a valuations, surveying and auctions business. Its first sale takes place at Conduit Street, London.

1897

Knight Frank & Rutley sell a ‘cycle machinery and plant’ business in Battersea for £270 11s 6d to achieve the first recorded business property sale.

1898

Co-founder Howard Frank puts the firm’s first full-page advertisement in the August edition of Country Life.

1910

Staff move from Conduit Street to 20 Hanover Square.

1911

The Crystal Palace sells to Lord Plymouth for £210,000.

1912

Howard Frank buys estate agent Walton & Lee to secure the prime front page of Country Life magazine.

1913

The Edinburgh office opens.

1914

Senior Partner Howard Frank is knighted.

Original advertising for The Crystal Palace
Photograph by Central Aerophoto Co., Ltd., courtesy National Geographic

1915

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

1917

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

1921

Knight Frank & Rutley sells its first town: Reigate for £203,840.

1922

The firm sells 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.

Chartwell in 1870. Image from National Trust
Broadcasting House

1927

The firm advises on the site assembly of the BBC’s headquarters, Broadcasting House in London.

1935

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

1937

The majority of Lytham St Anne’s in Lancashire is sold, including its celebrated golf course.

1945

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

1958

Offices on London’s Chiswell Street are acquired for BP, marking the UK’s largest ever property transaction.

1964

The Geneva office opens.

1965

Knight Frank & Rutley is established in Nigeria.

Alan Shelley and Paul Mitchell in Lagos, Nigeria, 1963.
Fountains Abbey, photo by Antony McCallum of WyrdLight.com

1974

The historic Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire is sold for £1 million.

1979

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

1980

The UK’s biggest single property deal takes place: BP’s purchase of Britannic House for £93 million.

1981

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

1983

Knight Frank & Rutley join 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 its growing staff, now comprising 53 partners and 5 associates.

1986

Qantas Centre in Sydney is sold for $200 million, becoming Australia’s largest single biggest property sale.

The Residential Development division is set up at the London Docklands office.

Britannic House, now known as CityPoint, photo by Paul Dean
Duke of York's Headquarters, photo by Jack Gavigan

1996

‘Rutley’ is dropped from the firm’s name to strengthen Knight Frank’s worldwide identity and plans to expand internationally.

2000

The Duke of York’s Headquarters in Chelsea, London, are sold 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 advises on the development of London’s new Olympic Village ahead of the 2012 Games.

Rutley Capital Partners, the real estate private equity business, is established.

Olympic Village

2006

Forms partnership with New York-based Newmark real estate to establish Newmark Knight Frank.

55 Baker Street, Photo by Mordern Architecture

2007

The firm’s equity in Indian operations, now totalling seven offices and 807 people, is increased to 100%.

Knight Frank expands to more than 165 offices in 36 countries across 6 continents, with over 5,000 local professionals handling real estate worth billions of pounds annually.

2008

Relocates global headquarters to 55 Baker Street, London W1.

2009

Newmark Knight Frank is appointed leasing agent on the 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 to sell the 40-acre Battersea Power Station site, consisting of eight million square feet of mixed-used property.

Launches multilingual website and introduces a new property app which goes on to be listed in the Daily Telegraph Top 10 property apps.

2012

My Knight Frank, a library of past and present research publications, launches.

The Shard, Wikipedia
Royal Atlanis, Dubai

2015

Knight Frank wins the instruction to sell 231 super prime residential units within the iconic Royal Atlantis on the Palm Jumeirah, Dubai.

2016

Enters a new license agreement in the Philippines to establish Santos Knight Frank.

2018

Expands the European network with the opening of the Hungarian office.

Forms a strategic alliance with Bayleys in New Zealand.

Bayleys, New Zealand