Barratt Developments

Barratt Developments plc
Public (LSE: BDEV)
Industry Housebuilding
Founded 1958 (1958)
Headquarters Coalville, England, UK
Key people
John Allan (Chairman)
David Thomas (CEO)
Revenue £3,759.5 million (2015)[1]
£576.8 million (2015)[1]
£450.3 million (2015)[1]
Number of employees
circa 5,000 (2015)[2]
A Barratt development near Reading
A David Wilson Homes branded house of Barratt Developments
A Barratt Homes sales and information centre

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".[3] Lewis Greensitt left shortly after the flotation and in 1963 the Company was renamed Barratt Developments.[4]

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[5] and the Luton-based Janes.[6]

Central to Barratt’s expansion was its high-profile marketing, with national advertising, featuring Patrick Allan and a helicopter. Barratt provided starter homes for 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.[7]

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.[4] In the late 1980s, Margaret Thatcher famously purchased a house on one of Barratt's most upmarket estates, in Dulwich, London.[8]

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 until his death in December 2012.[9][10]

In 2004 the company sold Barratt American, its US operation, established in the 1980s in California.[11]

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 £2.7 billion in 2007. This brought the David Wilson, Ward Homes and Wilson Bowden Developments brands to the group.[12]

In 2008 the company secured a restructuring of its banking covenant package.[13]

The non-profit Barrett Residential Asset Management division was established in 2012 to provide property management services on Barratt London developments.[14]

David Thomas was appointed chief executive in succession to Mark Clare in 2015.[15]


UK house building

Barratt used to have a self-created upmarket brand, KingsOak Homes[16] but now uses the David Wilson Homes brand for this purpose.[17]

Commercial construction

Barratt owns and operates Wilson Bowden Developments, which develops commercial property in the UK.[18]


In 2007, the Barratt Homes slogan was changed to ‘Built around you’, emphasising that for the previous fifty years, customer feedback had gone back into the building process to improve house building. The relaunch included a massive TV and newspaper advertising campaign.[19]


  1. 1 2 3 "Annual Report 2015" (PDF). Barratt Developments. Retrieved 19 March 2016.
  2. "Business Overview". Barratt Developments. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
  3. ``Company Prospectus`` November 1968
  4. 1 2 Wellings, Fred: Dictionary of British Housebuilders (2006) Troubador. ISBN 978-0-9552965-0-5.
  5. Greensitt & Barratt offer document April 1972
  6. Barratt offer document January 1976
  7. "Sir Lawrie Barratt". The Telegraph. 20 December 2012. Retrieved 19 March 2016.
  8. Arnot, Chris (2002-01-30). "Laager toffs". London: The Guardian. Archived from the original on 30 October 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-08.
  9. Daily Mail – 20 December 2012 – Building tycoon Sir Lawrie Barratt who made the dream of affordable home ownership a reality in Britain dies aged 85
  10. "Sir Lawrie Barratt". Retrieved 2008-10-08.
  11. "Execs buying U.S. unit of Barratt developers - The San Diego Union-Tribune". Retrieved 15 March 2015.
  12. "Barratt Developments to buy Wilson Bowden". International Herald Tribune. 2007-02-07. Retrieved 2008-10-08.
  13. "Need to Know". London: The Times. 2008-08-07. Retrieved 2008-10-08.
  14. "Welcome to BRAM". Retrieved 27 August 2015.
  15. Elizabeth Paton. "Barratt CEO Mark Clare steps down". The Financial Times. Retrieved 13 September 2015.
  16. "Contact us". Barratt Developments. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
  17. "Buy New Homes". David Wilson Homes. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
  18. "Wilson Bowden Developments in a Potential Sale". Retrieved 15 March 2015.
  19. "Barratt Homes - Built Around You". Tellyads. Retrieved 15 March 2015.

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