As the Metropolitan Line extended from Rickmansworth through to Chesham passenger numbers grew as did the demand for housing. In 1922 a Housing Act granted subsidies to builders and the Metropolitan Railway Country Estates Company Ltd launched their “Live in Metroland” campaign. These were the incentives for Frederick Gullett, a carpenter with generations of craftsmen behind him, to leave the Works Department of the Army and Navy Stores in London and start a building company.
He purchased two plots of land on the North Circular Road at Neasden and built two pairs of semi-detached houses. Soon he was winning contracts from both individuals and the Metropolitan Railway; in 1923 Gulletts was born. To this day it is possible to spot Gullett-built houses at almost any point along the Metropolitan Line from Harrow to Chesham and Amersham.
A £25 down payment could secure a property priced at £825. Another £25 would buy a garage too! Houses boasted three bedrooms, tiled bathrooms, airing cupboards and separate toilets. Living rooms looked out over private gardens.
By the 1930s Frederick’s sons, Claude and Ralph, had joined the business and Gullett & Sons became a registered company. Contracts were won as far afield as Dorset, but most work was in Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Middlesex.
In 1939 Gulletts were building on nine Metroland estates from Rayners Lane to Tring employing between 250 and 350 men.
During the war years house building ground to a halt and most of the workforce joined the armed forces. A nucleus of older employees was kept together for war damages work and property maintenance until the end of hostilities.
Soon after the war many ex-employees returned and were welcomed back into the team.
In the late 1940s Gullett & Sons acquired a builder’s yard and office in Chorleywood. As sales from the yard increased, a Builder’s Merchant and DIY business was added. As this developed, it was decided to split the business and Gullett Building & Timber Supplies Ltd, the DIY / Merchant side, came into being.
As the businesses matured and grew, Claude and Ralph Gullett completed a new church at St Andrews Chorleywood in 1966 which they regarded as their crowning work.
Peter Reynolds joined the company in the early 1970s to manage a substantial redevelopment of the Chorleywood site which had housed the Builders Yard and shop; the site also included additional adjacent land and premises.
When the development was completed, there were a number of shops, offices, a branch of Nat West Bank and a doctor’s surgery. Gullett and Sons had also built their own new offices, yard and workshops.
In 1981 the company relocated to Little Chalfont, taking over and extending a yard and offices which had been vacant for a while. Soon after, in 1983 the company celebrated its 60th year. It had developed beyond its beginnings in “Metroland” to ecclesiastical, commercial, retail and educational projects.
Over the next three decades the company continued to build high quality and bespoke projects out of its Little Chalfont offices. This site was redeveloped giving way to four new houses.
In 2007, after a brief tenure of a temporary office in Chartridge, the company moved to its current location in Chesham. Clive Gullett, grandson of the founder, retired that year. Peter Reynolds who had worked alongside Claude, Ralph and Clive Gullett, took the helm. He was joined soon after by his son David Reynolds.