Seddon Group Ltd. History
Telephone: 44 161 790 8531
Fax: 44 161 790 1922
Incorporated: 1920 as G&J Seddon Limited
Sales: £291.5 million ($521 million) (2003)
NAIC: 236115 New Single-Family Housing Construction (Except Operative Builders); 236116 New Multi-Family Housing Construction (Except Operative Builders); 236117 New Housing Operative Builders; 236210 Industrial Building Construction; 236220 Commercial and Institutional Building Construction; 238320 Paint and Wall Covering Contractors; 423140 Motor Vehicle Part (Used) Merchant Wholesalers; 423830 Industrial Machinery and Equipment Merchant Wholesalers; 441120 Used Car Dealers; 811111 General Automotive Repair
Company Vision: As a long established, traditional family owned construction Company, G & J Seddon Limited is planning for the future. Building on our financial stability and proven track record we will identify new opportunities to deliver quality buildings and services for the benefit of our customers and employees. We will maintain our valued workforce of highly qualified and well motivated professionals, providing sustainable employment, training and professional development. Our long term future will be secured by generating profitable business. Using modern management techniques and the latest thinking in construction will ensure that we enhance our position as a leading contractor within the industry.
- George and John Seddon begin a bricklaying business in Little Hulton, near Manchester, England.
- The company is incorporated as G&J Seddon Limited.
- The contract construction business, J&S Seddon, is created.
- The plant engineering business, Seddons (Plant & Engineers) Ltd., is created; a branch office in Stoke-on-Trent is opened.
- The Stoke-on-Trent office becomes a separate subsidiary, Seddon Stoke.
- The District Garage, providing automotive service and used vehicle sales, is established.
- Jotcham & Kendall, originally founded in 1680, is acquired.
- The Seddon Group is created as a holding company for family businesses.
- Winget, manufacturer of site dumpers and cement mixers, is acquired.
- Viceroy Developments, a multi-site developer, is created.
- Seddon Homes, a developer of residential homes, is launched; Chestergate Seddon is launched.
- The company enters project management with the creation of Chestergate Health; the company enters the nursery and daycare business with Nu Nu Ltd.
- The property conversion subsidiary Seddon Regeneration Ltd. is created.
- The company moves to new headquarters in Bolton.
Seddon Group Ltd. is one of the top family-owned construction businesses in the United Kingdom and is active in the new construction sector as well as in the market for refurbishment and renovation, including painting. The company serves the private, commercial, industrial, retail, and government sectors. The group operates through a number of subsidiary businesses. G&J Seddon Limited is the company's oldest component, dating back to the Seddon Group's founding in 1897. This company focuses on the Northwest England market, and provides new build, repair, refurbishment, and maintenance services, as well as design and build, joint venture, and speculative development projects. J&S Seddon Limited operates through branch offices in Birmingham, Derby, Stoke, Normanton, and Chester, providing the group's construction services to the national market. Its J&S Seddon painting subsidiary offers a full range of painting and painting maintenance and repairs throughout England. Jotcham & Kendall Ltd. focuses its construction on the area around Wotton-under-Edge, close to Bristol, where it has been in business since 1650. The company also operates Chestergate Seddon, which concentrates its construction operations on the British northwest region. In the early 1990s, Seddon launched a new housing development subsidiary, Seddon Homes, based in Cheshire. The company also operates a Plant Engineering subsidiary, providing equipment sales, parts, and repair services; that subsidiary also manufactures construction equipment under the Seddon Johnson brand. Seddon Group also operates Winget, a maker of site dumpers and cement mixers, and Seddon District Garage Limited, which provides automobile repair services as well as sales of used light commercial vehicles. Last, Seddon Group has entered the rapidly growing British market for private daycare facilities, through its Nu Nu Ltd. subsidiary. Seddon Group, now under the leadership of the fourth generation of the founding Seddon family, posted sales of £291 million ($521 million) in 2003. In 2004, the group moved to new headquarters in Bolton, Lancashire.
Laying the Foundation at the End of the 19th Century
Brothers George and John Seddon laid the foundation for the future Seddon Group when they went into business together as bricklayers in 1897. The brothers at first focused on their local market in Little Hulton, in Worsley. Over the following decades, however, the Seddons gained a reputation for quality work, and gradually expanded their range of operations to the Manchester area and later throughout the British northwestern region. By 1920, the company's growth led it to incorporate formally as G&J Seddon Limited.
At first, the Seddon company focused on bricklaying, becoming one of the region's most prominent and well respected businesses. Seddon's extension into full-scale construction began in the early 1930s, with the formation of a second company, J&S Seddon (Building) Limited, founded in the Potteries in 1932. The company soon began competing for large-scale public housing and public works projects, winning a large number of projects through the 1940s and 1950s. Government contracts, including from national, regional, and local governments, remained a mainstay of the Seddon company's operations into the next century. During this period, John Seddon's three sons joined the company and eventually took over its leadership.
The new generation also saw opportunities for further growth for the company. In the 1950s, Seddon began to expand both geographically and through diversifying its operations. By the beginning of that decade, the company had opened its first branch office, in Stoke-on-Trent. The company grew rapidly in that market as well, and by 1957 the Stoke office was established as a separate company, Seddon Stoke.
Meanwhile, Seddon had been developing a side business in plant engineering. In the late 1940s and early 1950s the company began operating an auxiliary site in Bolton providing plant services, including parts, maintenance, and repairs, for its growing fleet of construction vehicles and its growing inventory of construction equipment. By 1951, that operation had been developed into a full-fledged company, Seddons (Plant & Engineers) Ltd., which then began providing plant and fleet services to the wider Bolton construction market.
The Plant Engineering subsidiary soon developed into an important part of Seddon's business. Over the following decades, Seddon expanded the company, establishing a national network and becoming a major player in its sector in the United Kingdom. As part of that expansion, Seddon also began manufacturing its own construction equipment, marketed under the Seddon Johnson brand. A similar extension to the company's business came in 1958. In that year, the company launched an automotive repair business, District Garage in Bolton. That business also began selling used light commercial vehicles.
Regrouping in the 1980s
Seddon's first external growth move came in the late 1960s, with the acquisition of Jotcham & Kendall in 1968. That company traced its origins back to 1680, when John and Richard Jotcham were employed to work on the St. James Church in Charfield, near Wotton-under-Edge. The Jotcham family remained in the building trade into the 1900s. In the 1930s, then company head Harry Jotcham began working in an association with a local architect, Kendall. The pair formed a partnership, and the company became known as Jotcham & Kendall. Placed under Seddon's J&S Seddon building contractors operation, Jotcham & Kendall remained one of the United Kingdom's oldest operating building companies.
A new generation of Seddons--John, George, Christopher, and David--arrived to take the helm of the company, with John Seddon assuming the chairman's spot in 1979. The third generation was to expand the family business significantly over the next two decades. By the 2000s, Seddon emerged as one of the United Kingdom's leading family-controlled construction groups. As part of that process, the company restructured its various holdings in 1982, creating a single holding company, Seddon Group.
The 1980s proved a time of significant expansion for the company--at least until the crash of the U.K. housing and construction markets at the end of the decade. Among Seddon's growth moves during this period was its acquisition of Winget in 1986. Winget, a leading U.K. manufacturer of site dumpers and cement mixers, enhanced the group's plant engineering operation with its strong brand name.
In the late 1980s, the company continued its restructuring, placing its J&S Seddon (Building) operation under Seddon Stoke. That business was joined by the company's rapidly growing painting operation, J&S Seddon (Painting) Ltd. Another company launched that year was the multi-site developer Viceroy Developments. Seddon's operation now included not only its core contract construction business, but a fast-growing speculative development segment as well.
Fourth-Generation Family Business in the 2000s
Despite the crisis in the construction and housing sectors in the early 1990s, Seddon continued to grow, in part by seeking out new areas of operations. Seddon extended its development business to the residential homes sector, launching Seddon Homes in 1992. The company, formed in Sandbach, Cheshire, targeted the higher end of the new home market. Another development vehicle, Chestergate Seddon, was formed in 1992, followed by Seddon Waterfold in 1994.
Seddon also joined the trend among building groups to provide services beyond traditional construction activities. The company began offering project management service in 1999. The new operation was placed into a new subsidiary, Chestergate Health Ltd.
In that year, as well, Seddon entered another promising field, that of the construction and operation of private nursery and daycare facilities. That sector, fueled by the buoyant British economy, experienced rapid growth in the early 2000s.
Seddon spotted another growth opportunity in the early 2000s, that of the renovation of existing homes and the conversion of existing buildings into residential properties. In 2001, the company created a new subsidiary for this business, Seddon Regeneration Ltd.
By then, Seddon had introduced the fourth generation of Seddons--Stuart, Jonathan, and Steve--into the company's leadership. With its operations now reaching across most of England and Wales, Seddon had outgrown its original Little Hulton site. In 2004, the company moved to new headquarters in nearby Bolton, which also permitted the company to group most of its operations, including the plant and engineering, District Garage, and Winget businesses in a single location. Seddon had laid a strong foundation for success in the new century.
Principal Subsidiaries: Chestergate Seddon Ltd.; District Garage Ltd.; G&J Seddon Ltd.; Seddon (Stoke) Ltd.; J&S Seddon (Building); J&S Seddon (Painting); Jotcham & Kendall Ltd.; Seddon Homes Ltd.; Seddons (Plant & Engineers) Ltd.; Winget Ltd.
Principal Competitors: George Wimpey PLC; Taylor Woodrow PLC; Barratt Developments PLC; Kier Group PLC; Berkeley Group PLC; Tarmac Ltd.
- "First Sale for Seddon," This Is Lancashire, November 11, 2003.
- Jones, David, "Firm's £16m Contract for University Facelift," Daily Post, February 22, 2002, p. 20.
- "Major Office Scheme Launched," This Is Lancashire, August 15, 2003.
- "Seddon Snaps Up Contractor," Contract Flooring Journal, June 2003, p. 24.
Source: International Directory of Company Histories, Vol.67. St. James Press, 2005.