120 Years of the CGA
'A society of landowners, land agents, farmers and others interested in the land, numbering many thousands, and residing in all parts of the kingdom' is how the CGA described itself in its earliest publications. The association was founded in 1893 by William Broomhall and was initially funded by his friend - the first ever CGA member - William More-Molyneux of Losely Park in Surrey.
By the start of the 20th century, the CGA was an active and expanding association, operating a Country Gentlemen's Club in London and putting out erudite publications of notable value to farmers and land-owners. A panel of experts provided advice to members on all aspects of estate management, and the CGA also managed small estates for its members if required. The CGA became a respected source of knowledge and a trusted provider of valuable supplies. Through most of the 20th century, it prospered and attracted large numbers of members, and at one time nearly 60,000 people benefited from the range of services.
A hundred years on, and after a series of poor long-term commercial decisions, however, the CGA barely limped through the 1990s and faced a bleak future. As the '90s drew to a close, the then management asked the former Hampshire cricket captain Ingleby-Mackenzie to take on role of chairman in an attempt to reignite the organisation. Colin encouraged Rory Stormonth-Darling to join the business to focus on the membership and publishing aspects, and Rory subsequently courted the interest of CGA member, successful financial advisor and entrepreneur, William Harrison-Allan.
In 2002 the CGA moved to purpose built offices in the Wylye Valley in Wiltshire, where it resides today. Since the move we are pleased to report that the CGA has both gained strength and grown at an astonishing pace. Membership has increased to a healthy 14,000 members who currently enjoy the ever increasing range of services and benefits the CGA now proudly boasts.
These are exciting times for the CGA, and we hope you enjoy your membership as much as we revel in serving our members and providing you with the outstanding, unique and ever-evolving benefits we have become known and respected for.