Banham, the British high-end security company founded back in 1926 and with its head office located in London’s Earlsfield, celebrates its landmark 95th anniversary this month.
Still protecting the premises of the rich and famous, the business was established all those years ago by William F Banham after his wife, Ann-Marie, suffered a series of burglaries at her West London dress-making business. When the insurers pronounced the store uninsurable unless the door was bolted from the inside, Banham devised the first-ever automatic door bolt and, subsequently, Banham Patent Locks was born.
Such was Banham’s confidence in his product that, in 1936, he offered £25 to anyone who could break through a Banham door lock. Despite the stunt drawing quite the crowd in front of his premises in London’s celebrated Oxford Street, not a single person succeeded and Banham won his wager.
Fast forward nine and a half decades and Banham is still family-run and owned, with William and Ann-Marie’s grandson, namely executive chairman Charles Hallatt, at the helm.
The Board today consists of third and fourth generation Banham family members and is a diverse mix, which is especially unusual in what still remains a male-dominated industry. The company’s 400-person workforce comprises of numerous families who are proud to say they’ve worked for Banham, many of them for multiple decades.
Standing the test of time
Chairman Charles Hallatt commented: “We’re so proud of our family business and the fact that we’ve survived a world war, multiple recessions and a global pandemic. Banham has stood the test of time because of the strength that being a family business can bring. It’s not just about having our family involved at the helm, though. It’s also about all of the other families working here. We all have a strong passion and loyalty that unites us in any crisis and allows us to drive growth as well as look to the future.”
While the British brand continues to offer its iconic patented locks, it has expanded over the years into all areas of security including intruder and fire alarms, CCTV, safes, 24-hour monitoring and keyholding.
“Our ethos has always centred around letting our family look after your families, for the sake of both our colleagues and our customers,” asserted managing director Martin Herbert.
Banham has more than its storied history to celebrate. The company, which has its heartland in London and the South East, launched the Banham Academy in 2014 to deliver specialised training and career opportunities for young people aged between 16 and 24.
Lucie Banham, director of the business, stated: “Our vision for the Banham Academy was to provide young people with the skills and training they need to embark on careers as engineers. The UK has seen a dramatic decline in the uptake of engineers over the past decade and we’ve been committed to bridge that gap. The Banham Academy has never been so important given these recent challenging years. It continues to provide new opportunities for today’s youth, and particularly so to those individuals from less advantaged backgrounds.”
Systems taster course
In early 2022, the Banham Academy is holding a female-only, week-long ‘taster’ course on security systems to begin to address the gender gap in the sector. The current percentage of female technicians in the UK is only around 1% and Banham is committed to increase this number.
Lucie Banham concluded: “Banham believes in giving back to and working with the wider community, making sure that helping people is always a priority. Reaching our 95th Anniversary allows us to look back on all of our achievements, but more importantly to the future and continuing to support young people, via the Banham Academy, by helping them to learn new skills and gain valuable qualifications.”
*To find out more about Banham and the Banham Academy visit www.banham.co.uk