• Stephen Kettle Loyal Friends and PartnersStephen Kettle Loyal Friends and Partners

    Stephen Kettle Loyal Friends and Partners

    By Stephen Kettle

    This was a completely unique piece commissioned by a customer.

    This is an impressive double portrait of Sir Donald Gosling and Sir Ronald Hobson celebrating their friendship and business partnership which was formed just after the end of the Second World War. 

    Their story is the stuff that post-war British films were made of. Ron Hobson, a demobbed former seamen with a brain for business and nose for money-making ventures, saw the potential for developing bomb-stricken sites in London which led to a chance meeting with Don Gosling, in 1948 a trainee surveyor with Westminster City Council. After a dinner, the pair bought a bomb site in Red Lion Square, Holborn, for pounds 200 and converted it to a car park.

    The business started trading as Central Car Parks and within a decade the two founders had built up a chain of a dozen city-centre car parks. They took over National Car Parks from the family of a Colonel Lucas in 1958 and began their rapid expansion.

    Whether the two knew that the motor-car would become one of the cylinders in society's engine or property prices would go sky high is not clear. What is not difficult to say is that the duo's remarkable rise places them among of the best British business-people of their generation.

    Hobson and Gosling expanded the company by recognising the under-developed state of many post-World War II British cities and towns. The pair began buying vacant sites in city centres, converting them into car parks. NCP then began managing sites on behalf of third parties.

    By the mid-1990s NCP had become one of the most successful private businesses in Britain; by now incorporating the roadside breakdown and recovery service Green Flag. In 1998, after a flotation of the business on the London Stock Exchange was cancelled at a late stage, the company was bought by US-based property and travel services provider Cendant for £801million with Hobson, Gosling, and their family trusts who owned 72.5% of the National Parking Corporation taking £580million.

    Sir Donald coming from a naval background has enjoyed owning and sailing several yachts and has been a benefactor to naval charities, while Sir Ronald (sadly deceased) led a quiet, reclusive life.


    • Size:
      Life Size
    • Medium:
      Stacked Slate

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