Fred Hiam was born in 1872, and brought up on a 300-acre farm near Ely, Cambridgeshire. Aged 20, he moved to London and successfully marketed his fathers’ and neighbouring farmers’ goods through the Covent Garden and Spittalfields wholesale markets. ( Frederick Hiam’s fresh produce is still delivered into these markets on a daily basis )
During the ensuing 18 years Fred became a successful produce marketeer, but still found time to marry and have an only daughter.
In 1910 he and his family moved to Cambridgeshire and by 1918 had invested a quarter of a million pounds in buying land in East Anglia, some of it for as little as £5 per acre.
Fred’s interests were intensive cropping of the land and rearing and breaking heavy horses, which were no longer capable of coping with the hard London roads.
Due to his connections and experience, Fred was made Honorary Director of Vegetable Supplies during the First World War.
During his life Fred was a founder shareholder in sugar factories that later became the foundation of the British Sugar Corporation.
Fred also financed 10% of the British Empire Exhibition site at Wembley, and became Agricultural Advisor to a mission that toured the Empire.
In 1924, Fred was knighted “Sir Frederick” and on the 5th May 1925 Hiam Estates Ltd was established.
Sir Frederick died in 1938, but his popularity was reflected in his funeral at Ely Cathedral, which was attended by over 2000 people.
In his honour, the company was renamed Frederick Hiam Ltd and the 7000 acre estate was taken on by Sir Frederick’s son-in-law Captain Wilson. At this stage the Company had 550 employees, 250 working horses and 40 tractors.
Captain Wilson’s sons John and Peter continued to develop the business. The company now farms about 7000 acres.
Sir Frederick’s great grandson Christopher Wilson is Chairman the still family owned business.