Our History

Foundations of the company

The founding of Hortons can be traced back to Isaac Horton, who was born in 1821. He used income generated by his family’s provisions, butchery and cheese factoring concerns to create a substantial property and provisions business.

Upon his death, the provisions business was left to his eldest son, John, and the residue of his Estate was split between his remaining six sons. In 1892, when the youngest son turned 21, Hortons’ Estate Ltd was incorporated, with each son owning one share. The Estate was then
valued at £600,000 with mortgages totalling £160,000.

Since then, Hortons has remained family owned and run, and has continued to develop its property portfolio within the West Midlands region, while expanding further into hotels, brewing, commercial and retail development. In 2008, the company’s net assets were valued in excess of £190m.


Although he started his professional life running a provisions and pork butchery business in Lichfield, Isaac Horton soon set about building a substantial property business. He acquired various ground leases in the West Midlands, demolishing the old buildings and erecting new shops and office blocks. Isaac foresaw the impact the railways would have on visitors to Birmingham and he built the Midland Hotel in New Street and the Grand Hotel in Colmore Row, both located near to the main Birmingham stations of New Street and Snow Hill.


In the early 1900s, Hortons acquired Atkinsons Brewery and expanded its food and beverage operations.

During this time period, Hortons was growing fast, buying up properties in both Birmingham and Wolverhampton. It was also instrumental in developing a significant amount of the centre of Wolverhampton and building some of its earliest steel and concrete framed properties.

In 1912, the company developed one of the first concrete framed buildings in Birmingham city centre, known as the White House. Between the wars, development works in New Street and Bennetts Hill served to both expand and improve the company’s comprehensive portfolio in

The company also ran the Grand Hotel in Colmore Row until 1969 and the Midland Hotel (now the Burlington), in New Street until 2004.


In recent years Hortons has continued to grow and diversify its property portfolio. Whilst maintaining its historic strength in Birmingham and Wolverhampton, the Company has added properties in Aldridge, Coventry, Nottingham, Solihull, Worcestershire and Kettering; by 2008 rental income exceeded £15m.

A trading and development business has been created and this has already completed a number of successful schemes, both in Hortons own name and with a series of joint venture partners.

All of the activities were managed from the Estate Office at 31a Colmore Row, where the company had been based since the early part of the twentieth century. The office moved to Latham House as part of The Grand development in March 2014. Management values remain unchanged and staff are encouraged to take a proactive approach to working with the Estate’s tenants that now number over 600.