London Metropolitan Archives - Item Details


Date of Creation:


Reference Code:


Scope and Content:
  • Records of John Mowlem and Company Ltd, and subsidiary companies, 1830 - 1985; including articles of association; minutes; reports; prospectuses; financial ledgers and accounts; records of work done; works order books; inventories; letter books; staff records including wage books; property registers; photographs; awards; shareholder registers and seal registers. Also copy of "The History of John Mowlem and Company", volumes 1 and 2, by F Baines.

    Subsidiary companies whose records are found in this collection:
    John Mowlem and Company Limited U.K. Construction Division
    John Mowlem and Company Limited, Guernsey
    John Mowlem and Company Limited, Southampton
    Mowlem (Africa) Limited
    Mowlem (Building) Limited
    Mowlem (Scotland) Limited
    Mowlem Computer Grid Limited
    Mowlem International Division
    The Artistic Blind Company Limited
    The Cement Supply Company Limited (later called Constructional Services Limited)
    Glasgow Stockholders Trust Limited
    Grosvenor Engineering Services Limited
    Edmund Nuttall, Sons And Company and John Mowlem And Company (Joint) Limited
    Nuttall Mowlem Brand and Abboud (Near East) Limited
    E. Thomas and Company Limited
    Webber and Corben Limited
    Improved Wood Pavement and Company Limited (now called Mowlem Construction (Plant Hire) Limited)
    Alfred Booth and Co Limited
    Booth Concrete Limited
    C Evans and Sons Limited
    Dixon Building Equipment Limited
    Eatons Ladders Limited
    Edendal Properties Limited
    Ellis Richards Limited
    F Parker and Co Limited
    Freehold Improvements Limited
    Glasgow Stockholders Trust Plc
    Gravity Ladders and Randall Limited
    Grosvenor Structures Limited
    Hire Shops Limited
    Johnsons Ladders (Woodworks) Limited
    Lomount Construction Limited
    Mining and Geophysical Limited
    Parcar Utilities Limited
    Pierhead Limited
    Property Investments Cambridge Limited
    Redhill Bodybuilding Industries Limited
    Scaffolding (Great Britain) Limited
    Sgb Building Equipment Limited
    Sgb Canada Limited
    Sgb Group Limited
    Showex Limited
    Soil Mechanics Foundations Limited
    Tickner and Emmerton Limited
    Unit Construction Company Limited
    Wc Youngman Limited
    Welham Plant Limited
    Youngman Forktrucks Limited
Extent: 23.78 linear metres
Classification: BUSINESSES
Site Location: London Metropolitan Archives
Level of Description:

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Administrative History:
  • The Collection is split into 2 main parts: (i) the records of John Mowlem and Co. Ltd; (ii) the records of the Improved Wood Pavement Company Ltd.

    (i) John Mowlem (1788-1868) was originally a stonemason from Dorset and had experience of quarrying in the area around Swanage. He started business in London in 1822 and built up a steady account with Vestries and other authorities responsible for paving and roads. As builders and contractors, John Mowlem and Co. undertook a lot of small jobs in mid-nineteenth century London. Business expanded towards the end of the century with notable work carried out for the Jubilee Celebration for Queen Victoria in Westminster Abbey in 1887. Further recognition for the Company was gained in 1902 when it received a Royal Warrant from the Prince of Wales; later Warrants were received in 1910 and 1920.

    John Mowlem and Co. became a large contractor and much of the credit for this was down to the work of Sir George Mowlem Burt, civil engineer, and grandson of George Burt, a nephew and partner of the Company's founder. Under his guidance the Company undertook large scale public works such as the Admiralty Arch, the diversion of the low-level sewer at Millbank (for the London County Council), and other maintenance contracts for the Office of Works and the Port of London Authority. The Headquarters of I.C.I. in Millbank in the 1920's, and the Southampton Graving Dock (for the Southern Railway) in the 1930's were contracts which proved the Company's worth so that during wartime many government contracts were awarded to John Mowlem and Co. Ltd. These included the Royal Ordnance Factory at Swynnerton (1939-1942), many runways and tunnels and Phoenix Units for Mulberry Harbours, in all, contracts worth £29 million for the period 1940-1945. Post-war contracts included power stations at Braehead and Hunterston.

    The Company was incorporated in 1903, reverted to being a Private Company in 1908 and reconverted into a Public Company in 1925. In 1982, the company was re-registered as John Mowlem and Co. plc. In 2006 the firm was acquired by Carillion plc which in turn entered into liquidation in January 2018 and liquidated by the Official Receiver.

    (ii) The Improved Wood Pavement Company Ltd was incorporated in 1872 to acquire the patent of improved Wood Pavement combining the use of wood with preserving composition packed with stone, and for laying and maintaining same. The Company took over the business and contracts of Samuel Norris and Benjamin Berkley Hotchkiss, who had already laid some wood pavements in London and elsewhere. Bartholomew Lane, EC2 had been paved in December 1871.

    The original offices were at 32 Lombard Street, EC2, moving to Victoria Street, EC4, in 1876: in 1922 to Blackfriars House, New Bridge Street, EC4. By 1914 the Company was a contractor for wood paving, wood block flooring, sawing, excavating, concreting and had saw mills and works at East Greenwich.

    Improved Wood Pavement Company Ltd became associated with John Mowlem and Co. Ltd, government and public works contractors of Westminster and formed with them in 1941 the Mowlem Paving Co. Ltd. During the 1950s the Company became a wholly owned subsidiary of Mowlems and in 1959 it ceased to operate independently. Its name was subsequently changed to Mowlem Construction (Plant Hire) Ltd and it is now a subsidiary of John Mowlem and Co. plc though Mowlem Construction Co. Ltd.
Creator: John Mowlem and Co Ltd | builders and contractors
Copyright: City of London
Source of Acquisition:
  • The records were originally deposited as a loan at London Metropolitan Archives when the Company moved from Brentford to Isleworth in 1990 with additions made up to 2018. The deposits were converted to a gift to the City of London in July 2019 together with transfer of copyright where it was held by the depositor:
  • ACC/2809
  • ACC/2974
  • ACC/3478
  • ACC/3505
  • ACC/3629
  • B18/072
Access Restrictions: These records are available for public inspection, although records containing personal information are subject to access restrictions under the UK Data Protection Act, 2018
Physical Condition: Fit
Arrangement: ACC/2809/001-077: John Mowlem and Co; ACC/2809/078-317: Subsidiary companies; ACC/2809/PH: photographs.
Related Material: Other relevant collections held at LMA include the records of Messrs. Higgs, builders (B/HIG), Holliday and Greenwood Ltd, building contractors (B/HOL) and Trollope and Sons, (London) Ltd (B/TRL).
A large collection of site photographs has been deposited in the Greater London Photograph Library by John Mowlem and Co. plc.