Our History | Wilson Organisation

Our History

2014 marked a significant milestone for The Wilson Organisation, celebrating 100 years in business.

2014 marked a significant milestone for The Wilson Organisation, celebrating 100 years in business.

Wilsons has undergone huge change since it was founded by Harold Wilson in 1914, when he stood outside motor taxation offices in Nottingham to offer people insurance. There were eight staff working in the business by the time the young John J Prow joined in 1960, the firm having been bought by his father several years before.

When John’s parents died in an accident, he found himself in charge of the business at the very young age of 27. Despite having only eight years’ experience, John wanted to continue to grow the business and soon found the value of having the right team behind him.

Wilsons has pursued a policy of growth, both organically and through the acquisition of other broking firms. Growth has been achieved by providing clients, both corporate and private, with expert professional advice, service and integrity with a constant awareness of changes in industry and market conditions.

Today John’s daughters Annabel and Charlotte are the third generation of the family to run the business, supported at Wilsons by their father and mother Olga.

The firm has never stood still and our commitment to our clients and the belief that they are the most important part of the business, is as strong today as it was when the firm began in 1914. Our reputation for service excellence and innovation in the insurance services and financial advice provided by Wilsons has endured the economic challenges and social changes over its 100-year history.

We remain an organisation with pioneering spirit, we have never stood still and been complacent in our position as we believe this is not in ours, or our client’ best interests. We have always maintained that the most important part of our business is our clients, both large and small, corporate and private. We are very proud to say that many of our clients have remained with us for decades.

Over 100 years of innovation

  • 1914

    A successful launch! The Wilson Organisation was founded in Nottingham by Harold Wilson and became the first company in the East Midlands to offer a comprehensive insurance policy to the region’s fast-growing band of automobile drivers. Innovation from day one.

  • 1920s

    During the 1920’s, Wilsons developed its commercial insurance offering under the stewardship of Harold Wilson. Hopping forwards 80 years, Wilsons has developed a number of industry specialisms including a particular expertise in the food and drink sector. We created a unique insurance offering called “FoodProtect” and, through this service, have been able to deliver intelligence and cost-effective insurance programmes to a broad spread of leading food producers. The best thing since sliced bread? Maybe not, but we’re working on it.

  • 1949

    John Prow joined Harold Wilson in the business, marking the first generation of the Prow family’s involvement in The Wilson Organisation. Wilsons’ clients included leading Nottingham firm Boots The Chemist plus a number of operators in the burgeoning railway sector. With post-war regeneration beginning apace, the firm’s fledgling construction expertise quickly developed into one of our leading offerings and this continues through to the present day, with clients including national and regional builders, developers, contractors, sub-contractors and architects.

  • 1960s

    The 1960s were the start of a new era for The Wilson Organisation. Harold Wilson and John Prow died on the same day in 1963, Harold of illness and John in a car crash. This left John’s son, John J Prow, to run the growing business at the age of 27. Under his youthful direction, Wilsons benefited from a new energy and direction. John J Prow, who had joined in 1960 in a new business role, led the move into our current premises at Wilson House in 1964 and then launched the financial services division in the following year.

  • 1990s

    The late 1990s heralded the start of the third generation of the Prow family’s involvement in the business. Managing Director Charlotte Prow joined in 1998, to be followed by the firm’s Chief Executive, Annabel Prow, in 2002. Product and service innovation continued apace with the launch of a corporate finance specialism in 1997, which continues to deliver valuable cost-savings and insights to the region’s dealmakers.

  • 2000s

    Now century on from the launch of The Wilson Organisation in 1914, the company continues to encourage innovation and reward good ideas. Within the financial services team, 2008 marked the launch of “Flex”, a powerful employee benefit programme and the development of “WRAP”, an investment tool with a unique level of investor control and transparency. Meanwhile, our insurance advisers worked quickly to bring to market a specialist insurance policy for insolvency practitioners.

  • 2010s

    2010 saw the launch of the Midlands Family Business Awards by Wilsons, the UK’s only independent not-for-profit Awards for family businesses. Now in their fifth year, the Awards have raised almost £20,000 for charities supporting families and young people. In 2014 we are celebrating Wilsons’ centenary, a significant milestone in Wilsons’ history.

Registered Office:
Wilson House, 1/3 Waverley Street, Nottingham, NG7 4HG

Registered in England Number 862690 - Members of British Insurance Brokers Association

Harold Wilson (Insurances) Ltd. and Harold Wilson Financial Services Ltd. are authorised and regulated by the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority)