The Evolution Of Scrutton Bland

1919: The Scrutton Bland journey begins

It’s no coincidence that Alfred Scrutton and Frank Bland both started their respective practices in the same year. Alfred Scrutton saw many men returning from the Great War experiencing tax problems, and founded his firm with Frances Goodchild on The Thoroughfare in Ipswich town centre. Over the county border in Essex, Frank Bland, whose father co-founded the Colchester Permanent Building Society, noticed a greater need for insurance and set up an office on Crouch Street.

Bland Fielden staff


1920s Mr Scrutton and Mr Goodchild

The ‘Scrutton’ part of Scrutton Bland dates back to the partnership of Alfred Scrutton and Francis Goodchild who began their accountancy firm in Ipswich in 1919 when they saw that many men returning from the Great War had tax problems.

1920s Success in Essex

Over in Essex, the ‘Bland’ part of the firm was also going strong. In 1919, after distinguished military service in the First World War, Frank Bland set up his own insurance practice at 356 Crouch St, Colchester. In 1926 ‘The Limes’, a large 18th-century former school, came up for sale in the centre of the town, and the business relocated to the new premises where it remained until 2007.

Old office

1938 The Black Bell Inn

Business in Suffolk thrived during the 1920s, and Scrutton & Goodchild soon needed to move to larger premises on Museum Street. These offices had originally been the Black Bell Inn which was then knocked down to create a new building which opened in 1938, designed by Baker and Burton and built by H Everett and Son.

1968 Expansion in Suffolk

The Ipswich business continued to prosper, so much so that in 1968 they merged with their Ipswich competitor, Nankivell & Sanderson to create Scrutton, Goodchild and Sanderson with branches in Dovercourt, Diss and Saxmundham. The merger meant that the firm doubled in size, and there were now two buildings on either side of Museum Street.

Old office

1970s Paper-based accounts

Office rear

By the 1970s the Bland Fielden office in Colchester office was a familiar landmark for local businesses. Clients always brought in their annual accounts each year, including a fish merchant who delivered their paperwork in fish crates; the smell was so bad that they had to be stored in the old air raid shelter in the grounds.

1990 Scrutton Bland is formed

In 1990 after just over 70 years of business the two firms of Scrutton, Goodchild and Sanderson (in Ipswich) and Bland Fielden (in Colchester) merged to create Scrutton Bland. They covered Suffolk and north Essex, with branch offices in Ipswich, Colchester, Saxmundham, Diss, Witham and Frinton-on-Sea.

2004 Merrick Hill joins the group

The new century brought fresh changes as in 2004 Scrutton Bland acquired Merrick Hill, a well-known local insurance broker based in Diss, which became the most recent acquisition to the Scrutton Bland Group.

2007 A new office in Colchester

The current Scrutton Bland Colchester office was purpose-built and opened in 2007 on the Colchester Business Park with close links to the A12, and is still one of the firm’s key sites.

2014 Growth in Ipswich

In 2014 the Ipswich offices were moved to Crown Street on the site of what was originally the Temperance Hall building. The new development was designed to accommodate over 150 staff.

2016 Expansion into Cambridge

In 2016 Scrutton Bland’s new Cambridge office opened in Milton Hall on the outskirts of the city, to take advantage of new opportunities in the west of our region.

2019 Our centenary year

In 2019 we celebrated our 100th birthday. By now the Group employed over 230 staff across three counties. Celebrations included a 100-mile journey by the staff in one day, walking, cycling and sailing between the offices.

2021 Hybrid working

The Covid-19 pandemic meant all the offices had to close and staff moved to working from home. As lockdowns eased in 2021, employees embraced a hybrid way of working, allowing them to meet and interact with clients through electronic forms of communication, as well as in person in the offices.

2023 Creation of SB Audit LLP

In order to meet our regulatory requirements and future proof our business, in April 2023, we created the entity SB Audit LLP to carry on audit work in the UK and regulated for a range of investment business activities by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.

2023 New Office in Bury St Edmunds Opened

In 2023 Scrutton Bland’s new Bury St Edmunds office opened at Fornham Business Park, strategically located near the A14.


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Scrutton Bland have been helping people and businesses across the East of England with their accounts and finances for over 100 years.

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