From 1m to 9m in less than 50 years. That’s the history of UK companies

By Russell Rich

The Companies Act 1862 was an Act of regulating UK company law, whose descendant is the Companies Act 2006.

Now some people out there might think: ‘get a life’, but it struck us as interesting that company number 1,000,000 (Vural Limited) was incorporated in 1971. So, it had taken over a century for the first million UK companies to be incorporated but less than half that time (another 43 years) for a staggering nine million further companies to incorporate.  (Of course, we recognise that some of those will now be dormant.)

Prior to 1862 and before The Companies Act, in England the Government created corporations under a Royal Charter or Act of Parliament with the grant of a monopoly over a specified territory.

After the railway boom of the1800s, the number of companies formed soared but when nineteenth century depression took hold, many of these companies began to implode and fall into insolvency.  There was strong academic, legislative and judicial opinion opposed to the idea that businessmen could abrogate responsibility and accountability for their role in failing businesses but essentially, the same system remains in place today.

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