FOUR companies with links to a troubled York firm have been bought by an historic company.

Heritage construction and restoration specialist William Anelay Ltd went into administration earlier this month with the loss of 126 jobs.

The £38 million turnover family business had been trading since 1747, and carried out scores of high-profile historic and listed buildings schemes throughout the UK and several in York, including the Minster Undercroft, and Judges Lodgings, with prestige projects across the country including Lambeth Palace, Ripon Cathedral, and the Rotunda Museum at Scarborough.

It was announced on Friday that The Szerelmey Group, Vauxhall, has acquired controlling stakes in Lowery Roofing, Hare and Ransome Joinery, Anelay Building and Conservation North East - which all have offices in York - and Anelay Building and Conservation North West, which has offices in Greater Manchester.

About 50 staff will be affected by the buyout, which it is hoped will strengthen and support the futures of the businesses, continue work onsite, and take on new projects which could see them achieve a combined total turnover of around £12m during the next 12 months.

Charles Anelay, is the eighth generation of the founding family of William Anelay Ltd, and said the purchases were a relief to staff.

He said: "This acquisition removes all the uncertainty and brings fresh stability to these businesses by securing jobs with traditional craft skills and providing continuity for our clients.

"As such, it is very good news for our staff, good news for York and our region, and the North West, and good news for the heritage restoration sector."

The Szerelmey Group is also a family business that has specialised in stonework, faience and restoration work since 1855, and in the last three years has helped launch new companies and re-launch others, with current projects including Chatsworth House, Lincoln’s Inn Fields, St John’s College Oxford and the Cambridge Arms Hotel, Cambridge.