We were formed in 1908 by George Frederick Holding, and to this date the Holding family is still firmly involved with the business. We are very proud of our heritage and that our business has been built on the solid foundation of family driven values.
George Frederick and his brother started the business providing plastering and decorating in people’s homes. They would be seen around Whalley Range, Manchester, complete with hand-cart, knocking on people’s doors asking if they wanted their front-rooms painting.
As their reputation spread, they started painting churches. This was challenging work, having to work at some height to paint the ceilings. This further enhanced their reputation, and G F Holding became the go-to company to decorate within challenging environments. By 1935 G F Holding had developed to a team of four foremen, each with their own team of plasterers and painters; and they had expanded their expertise to working within cinemas and theatres, including the decorating of Stockport Plaza.
The company’s experience developed again during World War II when they painted ships as they travelled down the Manchester Ship Canal. A team of painters joined the ships in Manchester, and had to complete the painting by the time the ships reached Liverpool. During this time, the company also blacked-out a number of train stations and other public areas.
In 1944 George Frederick died and his son, Frank Leslie aged 26, took over G F Holding. The company continued to grow from strength to strength; and during the 1960s the company moved into contracting, opening Elmswell Road Workshop in 1969. In 1972 G F Holding Decorators and G F Holding Contractors were formed as separate businesses. During the 1970s and 1980s the companies continued to expand through a string of notable contracts including the fitting out of the first of many Abbey branches (now Santander), and our first £1million contract at the Mezzanine Cinema Odeon Leicester Square.
In 1981 Geoff Holding met Mike Maddocks – a young designer based in Didsbury, Manchester. Over a beer Mike explained that he needed a pub refurbishing. In those days such a project would have taken between 8-12 weeks. Geoff convinced Mike that G F Holding was the team for this project, and we would deliver this refurbishment within four weeks. And so, The Old Greyhorse Pub was the company’s first foray into refurbishing bars and restaurants, having only taken G F Holding three weeks and five days to refurbish and hand-over. G F Holding is still known today for such fast-paced turnaround of projects.
Having restored Manchester’s Palace Theatre in 1981, G F Holding won the contract to restore the Manchester Opera House in 1984. At that time the Grade II listed Opera House was a bingo hall, and the contract was to return it to a theatre. The G F Holding team worked tirelessly to restore the theatre, just in time for the reopening celebration – the Royal Gala Preview Performance of Barnum with Michael Crawford in the presence of HRH The Princess Royal and Mark Philips. The G F Holding Directors were guests at the opening night, and it was great to be able to admire and enjoy the results of their work.
In 1988 Frank died, and Geoffrey Egerton Holding took over the company. Under Geoffrey’s reign, G F Holding secured its first contract with Mecca refurbishing a bingo hall. This contract acted as a springboard into refurbishing bingo halls, which led into refurbishing casinos. The company started working with several different companies, delivering bingo and casino projects, and over time all of these companies were brought under The Rank Group, with whom we still work today. The projects were all over the country, and to help the senior team move from one site visit to another quickly, Geoffrey invested in a four-seater plane, which was met with differing degrees of enthusiasm by the senior team!
With so many years of history, the team has of course changed. However, the ethos, spirit and passion of George Frederick Holding has remained embedded within our business and all the members of our team – if we continue to deliver a quality finish and quality service for our clients, they will continue to work with us.