Last week at our head office location Matthew Good House, our parent company hosted their first-ever Heritage Open Day, where members of the public were welcomed onto a tour of the building to learn about our company's history.
Heritage Open Days is a national festival established in 1994. Every year in September over 5000 sites across England open their doors to places the public usually can't access. Across Hull and East Yorkshire over 200 locations are taking part in the event including companies like the BBC, G.F.Smith, Ideal boilers and Reckitt Benkiser.
Our Parent company is one of the UK's oldest shipping companies dating back to 1833, we were proud to open our doors to the public and tell them all about the history of the company as well as our modern-day operations.
After an arrival welcome, the tour started with an overview of the company history from John Good Group Director/Managing Director for Good Travel Management Kevin Harrison and Deputy Chairman John Rutherford, covering the six generations of family ownership. Kevin also provided an insight into the family values that have been an important part of our business since John Good set out all the years ago. We had lots of interesting artefacts to show, including the iconic 1920s travel posters produced for our travel business and the oldest known IATA certificate issued in 1946, which Good Travel Management still holds.
Kevin said "We may have a very modern building now, but we have a rich heritage as a company that has been based in Hull since it was started by John Good in 1833. We have a broad range of businesses nationally, which local people aren't necessarily aware of, so this was a great chance to let people know more about us. All of our businesses are different – but they all have the common goal of moving people and goods around the world. They are also built on the same values of the founder – providing a service to be proud of, making long term business decisions, always seeking to improve, and being a responsible member of the community."
After the initial presentation, small groups were given personal tours of the three companies operating in the building.
In Good Travel Management, Ellie and Chelsea explained how the team works together and gave live demonstrations of how they work with airlines and book flights.
In one of our sister companies DAN Shipping, Kevin and Richard explained how they track vessels around the world as they prepare for their arrival in port, and delved into how the company has adapted to the ever-changing energy market over the years. So fascinating was this part that the tour overran by quite some time!
Upstairs in John Good Shipping, Steve and Marilyn talked about the way the company has kept up with the way online communication has changed over the years, about the various ports and countries around the world that we work with and how they make sure we are always on the ball and ready to respond to customers’ needs.
Finally, the tour finished in the board room, where Deputy Chairman John Rutherford and CEO Alan Platt talked about the company’s recent growth, plans for the future and the exciting work going on with the Matthew Good Foundation.
Husband and wife, Ray and Camilla Stephens took part in the tour. Having travelled around the world and lived in France for many years, they moved to East Hull just over a year ago looking to live somewhere near the coast with a great culture and excellent transport links. Fascinated by Maritime cities and their new home of Hull, they are on a mission to get as involved as possible with the city, and are both City of Culture volunteers.
Camilla said, “We are visiting lots of the Heritage Open Days, and we are really interested in the history of Hull’s iconic companies. We visited the port last week, so this week wanted to learn more about the companies that keep them running. I have worked abroad as a translator for much of my life, so I've visited a lot of companies, and I couldn’t believe how friendly the atmosphere is here plus the quality of the communication and the way everybody is together – it’s like heaven.”
Ray added, “I was really surprised to learn about the travel side of the business. I’ve had to organise a lot of travel in the past, so I was really impressed with how organised it all was. I was also impressed with the breadth of the world their services cover.”
We were also delighted to welcome Phil Alexander to the tour, Managing Director of G.F. Smith in Hull, who was interested in learning more about the John Good group, and particularly the Matthew Good Foundation, but was equally impressed by the warmth and knowledge of the employees who he met.
After a successful first tour, we hope that the company will go on to become a permanent fixture on future Heritage Days.