The directors of one of the UK’s oldest building contractors have given up it the fight to save the firm and have appointed administrators Begbies Traynor.

York-based conservation specialist William Anelay ran into problems after a period of expansion with projects outside its usual sphere which proved “financially and operationally difficult.”

Chairman and special projects director, Charles Anelay, the eighth generation of the founding family, proposed a company voluntary arrangement with creditors to allow it to keep trading last month.

But now he has called it a day after failing to win the support of some key suppliers.

The £38m turnover firm had 17 schemes on site, including at York Mansion House, Bradford City Hall and Lancaster Castle.

In a letter to creditors yesterday, the firm said: “Despite a high level of support in favour of the proposals to date, the actions of a small number of suppliers completely eroded the confidence of certain clients.

“The steps they have in turn implemented to protect their positions have had a devastating effect on the company’s projected cash flow within the proposed arrangement.”

Joint administrator Julian Pitts said: “It is very sad to see the demise of such a historic Yorkshire family business.

“Unfortunately, William Anelay ran into cash flow difficulties following a period of expansion and problems with some complex projects.  Despite attempts to secure a CVA, this did not prove viable and there was no alternative but to place the business into administration.

“We will be working closely with the management to realise returns for creditors and will keep the employees fully informed as the situation becomes clearer.

“We are now in discussions with various interested parties and are hopeful that it may prove possible to novate some of the company’s contracts to ensure that work can be completed with the minimum of disruption to clients.”

William Anelay was founded in 1747 and featured in the recent BBC2 series Hairy Builders presented by Hairy Biker’s Dave Myers.

The company currently has 190 staff, including in associated businesses Lowery Roofing, Hare and Ransome Joinery, Anelay Traditional Masonry and Anelay Building and Conservation, which are unaffected and will continue to trade as normal.

Recent projects have included Lambeth Palace and Wilton’s Music Hall, London; Roker Pier Lighthouse; Phase 2 of Wakefield Cathedral, and Wentworth Castle and Stainborough Park Restoration, Barnsley.