Wigan firm T Fazakerley & Son transforms '1950s time warp' office to make it fit for 21st Century

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A family business looking to the future has certainly not forgotten its roots in a major revamp of its office.

T Fazakerley & Son, which is a chartered surveyors, land and estate agents, has been based on Wrightington Street, Swinley, since around 1950.

Until last year it was run by Brian Fazakerley and his secretary Sheila Carroll on a paper-based system, with two typewriters and a fax machine.

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But when Mr Fazakerley died in January 2021, his grandson Jack Sharpe stepped into the helm and became the fifth generation of his family to work in the business since it was founded by his great-grandfather in 1937.

Amy Howcroft, Jack Sharpe and Heather Sargent in T Fazakerley & Son's revamped officeAmy Howcroft, Jack Sharpe and Heather Sargent in T Fazakerley & Son's revamped office
Amy Howcroft, Jack Sharpe and Heather Sargent in T Fazakerley & Son's revamped office

Mr Sharpe said: “The office at the time was very dated, a 1950s time warp. Plaster work had gone to dust, the laminate wood effect internal cladding on the walls was, to most, over-bearing."

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He decided to make some changes so the office would be fit for the 21st Century – but was keen to honour the firm’s past.

Mr Sharpe said: “ We decided to go through a refurb to freshen the office up, which is what you will see today, to provide a modern base but incorporating some traditional items, like the hand-painted glass door. We have also incorporated a glass cabinet in the front room full of artefacts of the business over the years, from quotes written by builders in quill, a letter from Thomas Fazakerley on the original letterhead, bottles of quill ink – some of which are unopened – complete with original delivery tag addressed to ‘T Fazakerley & Son’, some rent books going back over the years. The business still manages some of the original instructions dating back to 1909.

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How the office used to lookHow the office used to look
How the office used to look

"On the refurbishment we used local contractors and companies where possible. For our signs we used Digital Impressions on Park Road. The electrician John Wood and his son James Wood were adapting work undertaken by their father David Wood, therefore three generations of electricians from the same family have worked on the building.”

Around 60 clients, professional contacts and friends were invited to the office for a reception evening to see the changes and as a “thank you” for their support over the past 12 months.