The history of Rentokil

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Rentokil history

Starting with the discoveries of a rat poison and woodworm treatment by two scientists in England and Denmark in the early 20th century, Rentokil has grown through acquisitions and the application of science and technology into the world’s largest pest control company.

Read about the journey from the Imperial Entomologist and Professor of Entomology who formulated a woodworm treatment to protect Westminster Hall, to one of the largest takeovers in UK corporate history. Rentokil continues to be a global leader in pest control, developing innovative products and providing expert and professional services in over 60 countries.


The history of Rentokil

The rich heritage of Rentokil from 1925 to recent times.

Rentokil timeline

Explore significant events from Rentokil’s history.

Professor Harold Maxwell Lefroy

The colourful life of Rentokil’s founder.


Bessie Eades

Owner 1925-1957
A pioneering businesswoman who established Rentokil as a viable company and ran it for over 30 years until the takeover by British Ratin

Karl Gustav Anker-Petersen

Head of Sales 1927-1956
The driving force behind Danish owned British Ratin and the takeover of Rentokil. He established the Ratin business in the UK and ran it for nearly 30 years.

Sir Clive Thompson

CEO 1983-2004
Turned Rentokil from a £100m turnover UK company to a £3 billion multinational corporation employing 100,000 people.


The Rentokil Library

Starting in the 1960s, Rentokil scientists wrote a series of classic textbooks on pests and pest control.

The Fetcham Injector

Invented by Norman Hicken to treat woodworm in timber and patented in 1948. Over a million were sold by the late 1950s.

The Rentokil Film Unit

The Rentokil Film Unit produced many pioneering films about the threat of pests and won a number of awards.

Next steps

Pest control services

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