Fred Hiam, born in 1872, spent his childhood on a 300-acre farm near Ely, Cambridgeshire. At the age of 20, he moved to London and started marketing his father’s and neighbouring farmers’ goods through the Covent Garden and Spitalfields wholesale markets. It is worth noting that even now, Frederick Hiam’s fresh produce continues to be delivered daily to these markets.
Over the next 18 years, Fred became a successful produce marketeer, as well as getting married and having his only daughter. In 1910, he moved with his family to Cambridgeshire and invested a quarter of a million pounds in buying land in East Anglia, some of it for as little as £5 per acre.
Fred was renowned for his interests in intensive cropping of the land and rearing and breaking heavy horses, which were no longer capable of coping with the hard London roads. Due to his connections and experience, Fred was made Honorary Director of Vegetable Supplies during the First World War. He also became a founder shareholder in sugar factories that later became the foundation of the British Sugar Corporation.
Fred financed 10% of the British Empire Exhibition site at Wembley and became Agricultural Advisor to a mission that toured the Empire. His achievements were duly recognized when he was knighted “Sir Frederick” in 1924.
On 5 May 1925, Hiam Estates Ltd was founded, and Sir Frederick continued to oversee the development of the business. When he passed away in 1938, he was mourned by over 2,000 people who attended his funeral at Ely Cathedral.
In his honour, the company was renamed Frederick Hiam Ltd, and the 7000-acre estate was taken on by Sir Frederick’s son-in-law, Captain Wilson. At this stage, the Company had 550 employees, 250 working horses and 40 tractors. Captain Wilson’s sons, John and Peter, continued to develop the business. Today, the company, which is still family-owned, farms around 7000 acres, with Sir Frederick’s great-grandson, Christopher Wilson, serving as the Chairman.
Brandon Fields, Brandon
Suffolk, IP27 0SE
Suffolk, IP27 0SE
Follow us on social media for updates.
Terms & Conditions