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Our History

Our History


1896 Knight Frank & Rutley was founded as a valuations, surveying and auctions business. Its first sale was held on April 23rd at Conduit Street in London.

1897 The first recorded business property sale is achieved in November, when Knight Frank & Rutley sells a ‘cycle machinery and plant’ business in Batterseafor £270 11s 6d.

1898 Howard Frank, one of the founders, places the firm’s first full-page advertisement in the August edition of Country Life.

1909 William Rutley, a co-founder, dies of a heart attack.

1910 All staff move into 20 Hanover Square from Conduit Street.

1911 The Crystal Palace is sold to Lord Plymouth for £210,000.

1912 Howard Frank buys the estate agent, Walton & Lee, solely to secure the prime front page position in Country Life magazine.

1913 The Edinburgh office opens.

1914 Howard Frank, the senior partner, is knighted.

1915 Cecil Chubb buys Stonehenge through Knight Frank & Rutley for £6,600 as a present for his wife. She gives it to the nation three years later.

1917 Howard Frank is made Director General of the combined Directorate of Lands.

1921 The town of Reigate is sold by Knight Frank & Rutley for £203,840 – the first time the firm has disposed of an entire town.

1922 The firm handles the sale of Winston Churchill’s house and sells Chartwell to him.

1924 The Duke of Westminster sells Grosvenor House in Park Lane through Knight Frank & Rutley.

1925 Knight Frank & Rutley buys 40 acres north of Oxford Street for the Audley Trust.

1927 The firm advises on the site assembly for the BBC’s world famous headquarters, Broadcasting House in London.

1931 John Knight, a co-founder, dies.

1932 Sir Howard Frank dies.

1935 The contents of the Cunard Liner, Olympia, are sold.

1937 Most of the town of Lytham St Anne’s in Lancashire is sold – including the celebrated golf course.

1945 Knight Frank & Rutley sells the contents of the German Embassy, including 20 Nazi flags, 17 safes and a dog basket.

1958 Knight Frank & Rutley acquires offices in London’s Chiswell Street for BP – at the time, the UK’s largest-ever property transaction.

1964 The firm opens an office in Geneva as a gateway to Europe.

1965 Knight Frank & Rutley is established in Nigeria.

1968 The firm acquires Wheatley, Kirk, Price and Co.

1972 The Geneva office closes in favour of new offices in Amsterdam and Paris.

1974 Fountains Abbey, Yorkshire, dating back to 1132, is sold for £1 million.

1979 Knight Frank & Rutley sets up a New York office through a joint venture with Douglas Elliman.

1980 BP’s purchase of Britannic House for £93 million becomes the UK’s biggest single property deal ever.


1981 In New York, Douglas Elliman Knight Frank sells Pan-American World Airways Intercontinental Hotels Corporation to Grand Metropolitan for $500 million.

1983 Knight Frank & Rutley joins with a leading Hong Kong surveyor to form Knight Frank Kan and Baillieu. The Singapore office is established.

1984 The firm acquires additional premises at 5 Hanover Square to accommodate the growing number of London headquarters staff - 53 partners and 5 associates.

1986 Qantas Centre, Sydney, is sold for $200 million, becoming Australia’s largest single biggest property sale. Residential Development division is set up at the London Docklands office.

1996 On 1 January, ‘Rutley’ is dropped from the Knight Frank name, to strengthen a cohesive world-wide identity as part of a plan to expand international market share.

2000 Knight Frank sells the Duke of York’s Headquarters in Chelsea, London, on behalf of the Ministry of Defence. The firm increases its stake in the Australian business to 100%.

2003 Knight Frank becomes a Limited Liability Partnership.

2004 Knight Frank is ranked as one of The Sunday Times 100 Best UK Companies to Work For.

2005 The firm is appointed to advise on the development of London’s new Olympic Village, ready for the 2012 Games. Establishes Rutley Capital Partners, its real estate private equity business.

2006 With effect from 1 January, Knight Frank establishes a global real estate partnership with leading New York-based real estate service firm Newmark Knight Frank, formerly Newmark.

2007 Increases equity to 100% in Indian operations which now total seven offices and 807 people. Knight Frank expands to more than 165 offices in over 36 countries on six continents, with over 5,000 locally-based professional staff handling £billions of real estate annually.

2008 Knight Frank leaves Hanover Square, its home since 1910, and moves to its new Global HQ in the landmark building at 55 Baker Street, London W1.

2009 Newmark Knight Frank is appointed leasing agent for the world famous Empire State Building.

2010 Knight Frank is appointed on London’s new skyscraper, The Shard, set to be the tallest landmark building in Europe.

2011 Knight Frank successfully pitches for the agency instruction to sell the 40 acre Battersea Power Station site, consisting of eight million square feet of mixed used property.

Knight Frank launches multi-lingual website, introduces a new property app iPhone and iPad and is listed in the Daily Telegraph Top 10 property apps.

2012 Knight Frank’s commercial and residential research teams launch My Knight Frank - a comprehensive library of past and present research publications.

2015 Knight Frank wins the instruction to sell 231 super prime residential units within the iconic Royal Atlantis on the Palm Jumeirah, Dubai.

2016 Entered into new license agreement in the Philippines – Santos Knight Frank

Named Investment Agency Team of the Year at the Property Week Awards

Named Office Agency Team of the Year at the Property Week Awards

2017 Named Industrial Adviser of the Year at the Estates Gazette Awards

2018 Named Professional Agency of the Year at the Property Week Awards