This October sees Mark Richardson having been at BB&J Commercial for a remarkable 25 years

October 1994 is almost half a lifetime ago for me.  I remember walking into our old offices on Sadler Gate as a newly qualified Chartered Surveyor who wasn’t even from Derby, having driven in from the other end of the A52 across the M1.

Derby at that time was somewhat different to now.  Certainly the city seemed a lot smaller and more parochial.  Sadler Gate was busy with a whole host of retailers including Roomes’ Fishmongers and Ted Cordens’ Fruit and Veg shop.  The Main Centre was still the place to go shopping and the Pink Coconut was the place for a night out.  I think the Market Place was still a through road at the time.  I can even recall the railway sidings at Chaddesden where the Wyvern now stands.  Being from Nottingham though I never of course ventured as far as the Baseball Ground …

In terms of technology, I don’t think we had a mobile phone in the office, and certainly didn’t get our sole office computer until at least 1997.

From a business point of view, property was very much advertised by For Sale or To Let boards and in the Derby Telegraph.  Any written reports to be prepared would be via a typewriter (with much use of Liquid Paper as I recall).  It all seems very antiquated now.

At the time the commercial property part of our business barely existed, and my own background was purely in carrying out lending valuations for the various banks – and I had only just started doing that a few weeks previously.

I had absolutely no inkling I would be here 25 years later, nor that I would own the business or that the business itself would have changed so much.  If I’d have been told back then I would still be in the same place a quarter of a century later I would have thought that would be a recipe for a very dull life.  Looking back on it from this end of the telescope though it has been anything but.

I’m genuinely very happy to have made Derby my home.  It is a great place to work, and I still enjoy it virtually every day.  It’s great to be part of a business that is doing so well, and deal with so many people I know around the city.  Some people think Derby is too small, but having had experience of working elsewhere it’s compact user-friendly size is something that operates very much in it’s favour.   It’s a pleasure to see how Derby has changed, and whilst there are some frustrations for many of us with the pace of (re)development I truly believe Derby has enormous potential which will see a new wave of transformation over the next several years.  The fact that it has a modest sized city centre gives the opportunity to create a really vibrant and dynamic place to live and work and I do believe we will see that happen.

Some things do have a habit of reminding me quite how long I’ve been here – our newest recruit Lucy Smith being one – she wasn’t even born until 2000, when I’d already been here six years. Now that does make me feel a little old …


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