From the swinging 60’s to the present day: Celebrating 50 years of Barton Wyatt

Fifty years ago, in 1965, specialist estate agency Barton Wyatt first opened their doors to the public in Virginia Water. It was the start of a business venture that was to span five decades, helping thousands to find the home of their dreams in leafy, peaceful Surrey.

James Wyatt, Partner of this highly respected and multi award-winning Virginia Water business coincidentally also celebrates his 50th birthday this year, having been just a babe in arms when the business started trading from the High Street in Virginia Water in the peak of the swinging sixties.

The private estate in Virginia Water – well known as Wentworth was already starting to attract celebrities who liked the idea of having an out-of-town address for the weekends.  At that time, Diana Dors was often spotted cruising around Wentworth in her open-top azure blue Rolls with pimped-out white leather interior.

James Wyatt remembers,

“Wentworth has always been rather well-known for its lavish parties.  In the 60’s the growing celeb crowd wanted to make their mark and where better than hosting a ‘do’ in your Surrey pad a short drive from Carnaby Street!  Babycham and Vermouth were being liberally mixed with fashionable substances such as mescaline and LSD as the swinging 60’s melded into the 70’s and our village became recognised as a magnet for A-listers.”

In the 70’s the gaggle of notorious Wentworth celebs expanded.  Diana Dors was joined by chart topping musicians – a couple of Bee Gees, Elton John  and singer Chris Squire from Yes.

The other big-name celeb who James Wyatt remembers arriving in the 70s was England’s much loved Sir Bruce Forsythe, who still enjoys his property on the estate today.

During the 80’s the celebs moved on and city gents and international businessmen and women moved in. Today we like to think of the estate as demure and private, with a sedate pace of life. What happens behind huge imposing gates, stays behind the gates, where families enjoy privacy and tranquility in this beautiful part of Surrey.

Back in 1965, Barton Wyatt quickly established itself as the local, loyal and trustworthy estate agency and those qualities are as much present today as they were 50 years ago.  The great work that Wyatt Senior put into building this immense agency has been taken even further forward by his charming sons, James and Rupert.

Rupert Wyatt comments,

“I was born with estate agency coursing through my veins.  From the early years James and I were involved in the business.  Starting with good old fashioned leaflet dropping, which was so popular in the 80’s – not much fun on an estate where each house has a ridiculously long drive – thank goodness for my Raleigh chopper!”

The changes in running an estate agency over 50 years are remarkable, although the foundations that make a good estate agency haven’t altered as James explains,

“People buy from people; my father was a stickler for manners and keeping promises.  This is in our genes and I hope my children will be true to these Wyatt values.  The other thing that hasn’t changed is the increase in property prices.  Apart from the odd little blip, prices have continued to soar here for 50 years.”

While sticking with traditional values, Barton Wyatt is also embracing the contemporary touches that have enabled the company to thrive as the information age progresses. This year sees the implementation of a giant touch screen window display.  Gone are the days of static printed property details – the next generation screen really makes the office ‘open all hours.’  Viewing property details, making an enquiry and asking for advice are at the tips of customers’ fingers, 24/7.

Estate agency brochures are also blending the old with the new. Customers love them but they have evolved from simple paper prints to glossy, high quality publications. On occasion for particularly luxurious properties, Barton Wyatt even includes a watchable video within the brochure.

Of course, the style of houses has changed considerably over the years, with older style Tarrant properties slowly being replaced by Russianesque mansions and neo-Georgian piles, many with deep underground living areas to maximise house size.

The facilities at the prestigious Wentworth Club have also scaled up over the years – in 1965 there were two 18 hole courses, a handful of tennis courts and an outside swimming pool.  Today there are three 18 hole courses, 13 beautiful tennis courts and a wonderful indoor pool and spa with multi gym.  Even the coffee has (thankfully) improved with age – goodbye jar of instant, hello luxury ground coffee.

For more details on Barton Wyatt’s 50th year please contact them on 01344 843 000 or visit www.bartonwyatt.co.uk