Business portrait

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I had the pleasure of photographing Bernard Rooney, regional MD for Barratt, central.

BERNARD ROONEY – Regional Managing Director, Central

Bernard joined the Group in 1981. Formerly Managing Director of Barratt Newcastle, he was appointed to his current position in July 2010 and is responsible for Barratt’s activities in the North West, Midlands and South Wales.

Bernard Rooney, Regional Managing Director at Barratt

© Mark Waugh

About Barratt:

Barratt Developments PLC is one of the largest residential property development companies in the United Kingdom. It was founded in 1958 as Greensitt Bros. but control was later assumed by Sir Lawrie Barratt. It was originally based in Newcastle upon Tyne but is now located at David Wilson’s former offices in Coalville. It has been listed on the London Stock Exchange since 1968 and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.

In 1962, Lewis Greensitt (a Newcastle builder) and Lawrie Barratt (an accountant) acquired control of the Company and embarked on a five-year expansion plan. The Company was floated on the Stock Exchange in 1968 as Greensitt & Barratt by which time the growth plan had been “fully achieved”. Lewis Greensitt left shortly after the flotation and in 1963 the Company was renamed Barratt Developments.

The 1970s saw Barratt making a series of acquisitions, transforming the Company from a local housebuilder to a national firm building around 10,000 houses a year, and rivalling George Wimpey in size. The largest of these acquisitions were the Manchester firm of Arthur Wardle and the Luton-based Janes. Allied to this was substantial organic expansion.

Central to Barratt’s expansion was its high profile marketing, with national advertising, featuring Patrick Allan and the helicopter. Barratt provided starter homes for the first time buyer and offered part-exchange to those trading up. In the year to June 1983, Barratt sold a record 16,500 houses making it by far the largest housebuilder in the country. It was to be more than twenty years before Barratt regained those volumes.

In 1983 and 1984 Barratt was hit by two successive ITV World in Action programmes, the first criticising timber framed housing and the latter, starter homes. Within two years, unit sales had more than halved. Lawrie Barratt led a total restructuring of the Company, abandoning timber framed construction, launching a new product range, and concentrating on the more profitable trade-up market. In the late 1980s Margaret Thatcher famously purchased a house on one of Barratt’s most up market estates, in Dulwich, South London.

In 1991 the Company was badly hit by a recession and recalled Lawrie Barratt from retirement: he retired for good in 1997 and remained Life President of the Company until December 2012, when he died.

In 2004 the Company sold Barratt American, its US operation, established in the 1980s in California.

Mark Clare was appointed Chief Executive in succession to David Pretty in 2006.

Following the house price boom in the later 1990s and early 2000s, which saw a number of Barratt’s largest rivals, such as Persimmon, George Wimpey and Taylor Woodrow all acquire rivals to increase in size, Barratt broke its tradition of 30 years and acquired Wilson Bowden, best known for its David Wilson Homes brand, for £2.7bn in 2007. This brought the David Wilson, Ward Homes and Wilson Bowden Developments brands to the group.

In 2008 the Company secured a restructuring of its banking covenant package.

The non-profit Barrett Residential Asset Management division was established in 2012 to provide property management services on Barratt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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All images are mine
Manchester Press Photography commission Manchester’s number one press and pr photographer
Press photographer in Warrington, Cheshire.

 

 

 

 

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