|Monty Hyams (1918-2013): Patent Information Pioneer||home||intro||derwent||personal||downloads||links|
1960: The move to proper premises
The first decade of Derwent took place at the semi-detached house of the same name in Cyprus Gardens, Finchley and then at the slightly larger one just over the Hendon border in Tenterden Drive. The business essentially occupied a single room, with abstractors and most typists working at their own homes.
By 1960 it was time to move the business out of the Hyams family home to proper premises in central London.
The location was a prime one near Holborn underground station, near the junction of Theobalds Road, Southampton Row and New Oxford Street. Of recent construction, the building was named Rochdale House after the Lancashire town where the Co-operative movement was founded. The Co-op owned the freehold and occupied upper floors, but the first floor was let to Kay Gibson, a greetings card publisher.
In August 1960, Derwent took over the rear 1460 square feet (136 square metres) of the first floor for 21 years at a rent of 37 shillings and sixpence (£1.875) per square foot.
"My father-in-law thought this would ruin me financially," says Monty's memoir note. "He also wondered what his daughter was supposed to do now that the house had been vacated. And he reckoned that I paid the typists too much."
Maybe there was a degree of envy in the old man's attitude, as he himself had just retired from his jeweller's shop around the corner in Southampton Row.
In July 1964 Derwent took over the remaining 1810 square feet (168 square metres) of the first floor on the same terms, paying Kaye £3200 "in his pocket" for the lease and furniture.
If one adjusts £1.875 to its modern equivalent via the retail price index and then compares that with modern rental rates for that area of London (for example at www.findalondonoffice.co.uk/toolbox/rental-guide/) then the 1960 rent was around a third less than it would be now and the 1964 rent around 40% less.
Eight years later, Derwent expanded into the basement and ground floor -- and eventually to all the upper floors too, as well as additional premises.