Shepherd Building Group

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Shepherd Building Group
Industry Construction
Predecessor F. Shepherd & Son
Founded 1890 (1890)
Founder Frederick Shepherd
Headquarters York, England
Area served
United Kingdom
Owner Shepherd Family
Number of employees
Divisions Construction and engineering, manufacturing, property

The Shepherd Building Group Ltd. (trading name Shepherd Group) is one of the largest privately owned building groups in the UK with a group turnover in excess of £600 million. The Shepherd Group's history can be traced to 1890 when Frederick Shepherd, who was the founder of the company, set up a successful building business in York. Growth, through innovation by several generations of the Shepherd family, by acquisition and through geographical expansion, led to the formation of Shepherd Building Group in 1962.


In 1890, at the age of 35, Frederick Shepherd who was a joiner, set up his own business, which rapidly achieved success in speculative house building in York. He was later joined by two sons, William who was the elder, and Frederick Welton, who had trained as a bricklayer. Around 1900, work was being undertaken outside York and a recession in the market for new houses led to a diversification into general contracting jobs.

When William Shepherd emigrated to America in 1910 the business became known as F. Shepherd and Son, and it was incorporated as a private company in 1924.

The founding Frederick Shepherd died in 1930. His son, Frederick Welton, was a driving force in the company and had been instrumental in developing the firm's main premises, at Blue Bridge Lane, beside the River Ouse, which remained the Shepherd head office premises until 1995. By the late 1930s the company with a workforce of around 700, had established a major presence throughout Yorkshire and North East England.[1] When World War II ended, the firm took advantage of opportunities to expand its contracting operations, both by opening new offices and by acquiring existing local companies in new areas. The strategy was successful and the Shepherd company continued to expand under the direction of four of Frederick Welton's sons, Peter (later Sir Peter), Donald, Michael and Colin. Other substantial operations such as Shepherd Building Service, Shepherd Homes, Shepherd Engineering Services, Shepherd Development Co. and Mechplant became major divisions of the company.

In 1962 the structure of the business was reorganised when the new holding company, Shepherd Group Ltd, was formed. Then, in the late 1970s, the Shepherd Group became one of the 500 largest companies in the UK. This was achieved without raising public capital and the Group remains an unquoted company. It has become one of the largest wholly family-owned private companies in the UK.

Sky Plaza built by Shepherd Building Group


The group employs a total of 3,200 people at the head office in York, a national network of regional offices, and in 75 hire centres at any one time.[2] Today Shepherd Construction handles projects for the public and private sectors, including leisure, commercial, industrial, housing, health, education, retail and research laboratories.[3] The Group's operations are arranged in three divisions:

  • Shepherd Group Built Environment (Shepherd Construction, Shepherd FM, Shepherd Homes, Shepherd Aligned and SES)
  • Portakabin Group (Portakabin, Allspace, Yorkon, Foremans, Konstructa, Portaloo brands)
  • Shepherd Group Engineering (Portasilo and Portastor)[4][5]

Major projects[edit]

Shepherd Construction undertakes schemes throughout the UK mainland. Its operations are controlled from offices in Birmingham, Leeds and York.

Recent major projects include:


  1. ^ "Shepherd Building Group: History". Shepherd Building Group. Retrieved 2009-05-07. 
  2. ^ "Shepherd Building Group: Investors in People Direct". Investors in People. Retrieved 2009-05-07. 
  3. ^ "Shepherd Building Group: About Us". Shepherd Building Group. Retrieved 2009-05-07. 
  4. ^ "Shepherd Construction: About Us". Shepherd Building Group. Retrieved 2009-05-07. 
  5. ^ "Shepherd Construction: About Us". Shepherd Building Group. Retrieved 2009-05-07. 
  6. ^ International Gateway Liverpool City Council
  7. ^ Commercial District Liverpool City Council
  8. ^ UK Activity Report UK Business Park
  9. ^ Morrison to sell old Safeway head office to US firm for £20m The Times, 19 October 2005
  10. ^ Worlds Tallest Student Block Completes In Leeds Skyscraper News, 26 June 2009
  11. ^ Work restarts on Wakefield Trinity Walk shopping centre Retail Week, 15 January 2010