Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Hanson Trust

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An industrial conglomerate, of London Road, Twickenham

of Brompton Road, London

1964 James Hanson (1922-2004) and Gordon White sold Oswald Tillotson to the Wiles Group, manufacturers of agricultural fertilizers and sacks.

They then gained control of Wiles, reorganized the company and sold its fertilizer business.

Acquired Scottish Land Development Corporation.

1968 Bought a brick-making business, Butterley.

1969 Wiles Group changed its name to Hanson Trust, with James Hanson as chairman, to consolidate the investments[1]

1969 Sold Butterley Engineering to Oxley Engineering Co[2]. Acquired Provincial Traction Co ; sold Gosport and Fareham Omnibus Co to National Bus Co[3]

1970 Won a contest with Lex for Steels Garages but then agreed to let Lex Services purchase it, and acquire Tillotson Commercial Motors and Swain Group (Motors) from Hanson[4]

1971 Acquired National Star Brick and Tile, which served an area contiguous with that served by Butterley[5]

1973 Acquired B. H. D. Engineers, where Hanson family already had significant interests and James Hanson was chairman[6].

1973 Bowater Corporation bid for Hanson, partly for tax reasons; James Hanson would join the Bowater board[7] but the bid was dropped when it was referred to the Monopolies Commission.

1973 Sold about two-thirds of BHD Engineers - Holset Engineering Co to Cummins Engine Corporation of USA, and W. C. Holmes and Co to Peabody Galion of USA[8]

1974 Hopkinsons Holdings acquired Bryan Donkin and Co, valve makers, from Hanson Trust[9].

1974-6 Hanson made several US acquisitions[10]

1978 Acquired Henry Campbell and Co of Newtonabbey, producer of natural and synthetic thread and yarn, and vehicle distributor[11]

1987 Changed name to Hanson plc

1979 Acquired Lindustries[12]

1980 Formed Barbour Campbell Division for the threads and yarns businesses[13]

1982 Acquired the Ever Ready battery company Berec

1982 Purchased United Gas Industries. Sold the European operations of Berec to Duracell of USA[14]

1983 Acquired United Drapery Stores (UDS) and then sold several of its brands of shops[15]

1984 Acquired the London Brick Co

1984 The Hanson Board agreed to a Management Buy-Out of J. Rhodes and Sons.

1986 Hanson Trust bought a 15 per cent stake in Westland Helicopters in support of a proposed merger with Sikorsky-Fiat; Hanson Industries in USA acquired SCM in a strongly contested bid and recouped its purchase price within 3 months[16]

1986 Imperial Tobacco Co was acquired by the Hanson Trust who sold almost all of Imperial's non-tobacco businesses.

1989 Acquired Consolidated Gold Fields

1989 Sold Barbour Campbell, the industrial thread and linen yarn manufacturer, to its management[17]

1991 Acquired an interest in ICI but that company conducted a campaign to prevent Hanson taking it over.

1995 Gordon White died. US Industries was demerged

1996 The four main constituents of the Trust were separated:

  • Tobacco
  • Energy
  • Chemicals
  • Building materials

The group was split into 4 independent companies: The Energy Group, Millenium Chemicals of USA, Imperial Tobacco and the new Hanson plc, which dealt in building materials and equipment[18]

1997 James Hanson retired as chairman

Hanson plc survived as a building products company derived from the original brick and aggregates business and in 2007 was taken over by Heidelberg Cement


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. The Times, Oct 23, 1969
  2. The Times, Nov 28, 1969
  3. The Times, Dec 20, 1969
  4. The Times, May 14, 1970
  5. The Times, Feb 25, 1971
  6. The Times, Jan 11, 1973
  7. The Times, Jun 16, 1973
  8. The Times, Sep 15, 1973
  9. The Times (London, England), Saturday, Apr 13, 1974
  10. The Times, Dec 17, 1974
  11. The Times, Nov 22, 1978
  12. The Times, Dec 06, 1979
  13. The Times (London, England), Friday, Jun 13, 1980
  14. The Times, Dec 18, 1982
  15. The Times, Sep 17, 1983
  16. The Times, November 03, 2004
  17. The Times, May 31, 1989
  18. The Times, February 25, 1997
  • Biography of James Edward Hanson, ODNB [1]