“Whether we have needed strong manufacturing skills, excellent logistics or great service delivery for our retail and hospitality business, Tewkesbury has offered it all.”
Creating business success in Tewkesbury is deeply embedded in Richard Chatham’s DNA. His family’s commercial acumen can be traced back to the 1600s when the Bishop family were butchers in the town.
As well as running thriving retail businesses over the years, the family has played an important role in the farming community and taken on important civic roles. Richard’s grandfather Harry Bishop was Mayor of Tewkesbury in 1916 and his father Charles became the country’s youngest magistrate at the age of 51 going on to be Chairman of the Bench in the 70’s and 80’s.
Richard’s own working career started in agriculture but, after winning a competition to visit Holland at the age of 20, he met the De Leeuw family. A short time afterwards the company Chatham De Leeuw was in business to import, and later manufacture, a drainage system for concrete floors known as Porcupipe. Richard and his brother Charles expanded the market into breweries, food factories, swimming pools and shopping precincts and also exported the technology to overseas markets including Hong Kong and Nigeria.
A second business followed in the 1980s when Chatham Brothers Limited was formed to design and manufacture a range of agricultural livestock handling and housing systems.
In 1991, Richard changed direction again and diversified family farmland in the village of Tredington just outside Tewkesbury and developed the Sherdons Golf Centre.
Fast forward to the present day and Richard’s businesses are now in the hands of others. Porcupipe was sold to Polypipe, Chatham Brothers became part of Countrywide Farmers and Sherdons was recently bought by a highly respected golf professional who is further developing the Teaching Academy to incorporate the latest high tech teaching aids.
“I can honestly say that Tewkesbury has been a great base for all the companies I’ve been involved with. It has got the best all round transport infrastructure in the country which means we can easily get goods and services in and out, the quality and expertise of the workforce is second to none and the quality of life is both rich and varied. I just think we are very fortunate to be able to live and work here.”
Although now happily planning his partial retirement, Richard is keeping up the other family tradition of community involvement. Previously Chairman of Tewkesbury Young Farmers, he is now one of the County Vice Presidents. He’s also Chairman of Stoke Orchard and Tredington Parish Council and keeps on top of all business issues as Chairman of Tewkesbury Business Breakfast Club and as a committee member of the Tewkesbury Chamber of Commerce.