In the beginning
Dernford Holdings Ltd has a longstanding strong historical connection with Cambridge and its sub-region through the involvement of its majority shareholders, the January family.
Douglas L January and his wife founded a property agency in Cambridge in 1937 which grew rapidly in the pre and post war years, based on hard work and a highly entrepreneurial and instinctive approach to property matters.
Douglas was joined by his younger brother Desmond and in addition to running a burgeoning estate agency practice (residential and commercial) the Januarys carried out developments in and around the city on their own account.
These activities were undertaken under the brand name ‘Dernford’ named after a farm in Sawston owned and operated by the family (through Douglas’s son Richard).
In the early 1960’s Derek Dazeley joined Douglas January and they became like ‘father and son’ and further developed the business together, assisted by numerous others notably John Callin who built up an extremely active commercial agency to sit alongside the residential agency, auctioneering and other activities.
The family property company fed the commercial agency and these activities led to the firm building up knowledge rarely available in the provinces and the firm built a spectacularly successful and dominant commercial property agency in the period 1970 – 2010.
1980’s – 2000’s
In the early 1980’s Simon Dazeley joined the practice to work with his father and John Callin in developing the business, having trained in the City of London.
This led to a further growth in the development led activities of the business and to invitations from development clients and partners for the firm to participate in speculative activities, which it did through a Special Purpose Vehicle it set up.
David Foord, a Chartered Accountant, joined Januarys as its Managing Partner Designate and Finance Director of its Parent Company in 2004 and is now Dernford’s Finance Director.
Over time and particularly due to the sad and early demise of John Callin, this led to Dernford investing in the property agency to support it and increase its speculative activities in a complementary fashion.
The logical end point of this evolution was for the professional practice/property agency business to be sold, and the speculative activities to be focused through Dernford Holdings as an independent entity.
2015 – 2018
This came about in 2015 when Januarys was sold to Carter Jonas and Dernford Holdings set up as an independent entity operated by its now Managing Director, Simon Dazeley.
Throughout its evolution the family has always been represented on the Board by a family member, in recent years by Libby January (daughter of Douglas) and following on from her, Libby’s son Jody.
The Januarys and the Dazeleys have enjoyed a close relationship for 50 years and the company operates in accordance with its history and legacy and adheres to its entrepreneurial, but responsible family principles.
One way or another, the Executives in Dernford Holdings Ltd have dealt with a vast array of properties and opportunities in and around Cambridge city and its sub-region and have an empathy and understanding for it and enjoy excellent business relationships across a wide range of sectors in the city, and with local authorities and other stakeholders which makes them an ideal counterparty to sell to or partner with.