Alfred McAlpine

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Alfred McAlpine
Business services
HeadquartersHooton, Cheshire
Key people
Dr Roger Urwin, (Chairman)
Ian Grice, (CEO)
Number of employees
8,600 (2008)

Alfred McAlpine plc was a British construction firm headquartered in Hooton, Cheshire. It was a major road builder, and constructed over 10% of Britain's motorways, including the M6 Toll (as part of the CAMBBA consortium). It was listed on the London Stock Exchange until it was acquired by Carillion in 2008.


Alfred McAlpine was one of the sons of 'Concrete' Bob McAlpine and he ran the operations of Sir Robert McAlpine in the north west of England. In 1935, following the death of Sir Robert and his eldest son, Alfred ran the north west independently, although the legal separation was not completed until 1940, when Sir Alfred McAlpine & Son was formed. Under a non-compete agreement with its former parent company, Sir Alfred McAlpine confined itself to civil engineering and to the north west of England.[2]

After the death of its founder, his son Jimmie McAlpine became chairman. The company was floated on the London Stock Exchange in 1958 under the name Marchwiel Holdings, changing its public name to Alfred McAlpine PLC only in 1985.[3] This followed the decision in 1983 to end the non-compete agreement with Robert McAlpine allowing the firm to expand geographically.[1]

McAlpine's status as a civil engineer was enhanced during the 1960s by its participation in the motorway building programme and the company became one of the country's leading civil engineers. There had been some limited diversification, including the purchase of Penrhyn Quarry, the country's largest slate works. As the civil engineering market declined in the 1970s, McAlpine sought to diversify further into private housebuilding. Acquisitions included Price Brothers in 1978, Frank Sanderson's Finlas in 1982 and Canberra in 1988. Investments had also been made in the US housing industry. By the end of the 1980s, private housebuilding was contributing the major part of group profits.[4]

In 1985, Jimmie retired, and handed over chairmanship of the company to his son Robert James "Bobby" McAlpine.[5] In 1991 Bobby brought in an outside chief executive, resigning as chairman in 1992, by which time the family no longer owned a controlling shareholding. Under new management, there was further concentration on private housebuilding, including the acquisition of Raine Industries. By the late 1990s, McAlpine was building over 4,000 houses a year and was one of the industry's top ten.[4] However, there was increasing speculation over the future of the company and, in 2001, it sold its housebuilding operations to George Wimpey.[6] In 2001, it acquired Kennedy Utility Management for £52m.[7] In 2002, it acquired Stiell, a facilities management and information technology network systems business, for £85m.[8] In February 2008, Carillion acquired Alfred McAlpine for £572m.[9]


It had three business streams:

  • Business Services: facilities management, information systems, asset management and health and safety management.
  • Project Services: the Special Projects unit was involved a broad range of commercial, industrial, leisure, educational and medical facilities and the civil engineering unit was focused primarily on road building.
  • Infrastructure Services: maintenance, renewal and development services to utility operators in the gas, electricity, water and telecoms sectors and roads maintenance services to local government.

It also owned Alfred McAlpine Slate, which was the world's largest producer of natural slate.

Major projects[edit]

Projects undertaken by the company included an engine factory for the Bristol Aeroplane Company at Hawthorn completed in 1943,[10] the Royal Liverpool University Hospital completed in 1969,[11] the Scammonden Dam completed in 1970,[12] New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton completed in 1970,[13] the Alvito Dam in Portugal completed in 1976,[14] Dinorwig Power Station completed in 1984,[15] Manchester Central completed in 1986,[16] Devonshire Dock Hall in Barrow-in-Furness completed in 1986,[17] the Jackfield Bridge completed in 1994,[18] the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds completed in 1996,[19] the Kirklees Stadium in Huddersfield completed in 1997 (known commercially as the McAlpine Stadium until 2004),[20] the JJB Stadium in Wigan completed in 1999 (now known as the DW Stadium),[21] the Eden Project in St Austell completed in 2001,[22] Wythenshawe Hospital completed in 2001,[23] Hereford County Hospital completed in 2002,[24] the M6 Toll completed in 2003,[25] the redevelopment of Stoke Mandeville Hospital completed in 2006,[26] the new elective care facility for Addenbrooke's Hospital completed in 2007[27] and the Bluestone Holiday Complex completed in 2008.[28]


  1. ^ a b ""McAlpine vs McAlpine" High Court Judgement". Her Majesty's Courts Service. 31 March 2004. Archived from the original on 17 May 2006. Retrieved 11 July 2008.
  2. ^ Gray, pp. 23-5
  3. ^ Gray, pp. 68-9
  4. ^ a b Wellings, Fred: Dictionary of British Housebuilders (2006) Troubador. ISBN 978-0-9552965-0-5,
  5. ^ "Sir Alfred McAlpine and Son". Graces Guide. Retrieved 10 November 2012.
  6. ^ "Wimpey buys McAlpine building unit". BBC News. 14 August 2001. Retrieved 11 July 2008.
  7. ^ "Alfred McAlpine". UK Business Park. 21 March 2001. Archived from the original on 2 October 2008. Retrieved 11 July 2008. Alfred McAlpine has acquired Kennedy, the Manchester-based construction services group, for £52m.
  8. ^ "Alfred McAlpine". UK Business Park. 4 March 2002. Archived from the original on 2 October 2008. Retrieved 11 July 2008. Alfred McAlpine has acquired Stiell, the facilities management company with 1,200 staff at offices in Glasgow, Manchester, London and Belfast, for £85m.
  9. ^ "Carillion agrees to buy McAlpine". BBC News. 10 December 2007. Retrieved 11 July 2008.
  10. ^ Gray, p. 35
  11. ^ Gray, p. 107
  12. ^ Gray, p. 79
  13. ^ Gray, p. 184
  14. ^ Gray, p. 188
  15. ^ Gray, p. 14
  16. ^ Gray, p. 137
  17. ^ Gray, p. 174
  18. ^ Jackfield Bridge Tata Steel
  19. ^ "The Re-negotiation of the PFI-type deal for the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds" (PDF). National Audit Office. 18 January 2001. p. 17. Archived from the original (PDF) on 30 October 2008. Retrieved 11 July 2008.
  20. ^ Galpharm Stadium at Engineering Timelines Archived 10 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  21. ^ "Facts and Figures". The JJB Stadium. Archived from the original on 28 March 2008. Retrieved 11 July 2008.
  22. ^ "Welcome to Living Space – Housing Regeneration". Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
  23. ^ "£113M Wythenshawe Hospital development". New Civil Engineer. 20 August 1998. Archived from the original on 8 April 2018. Retrieved 7 April 2018.
  24. ^ "Hereford PFI deal closed". Building. 23 April 1999. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
  25. ^ "M6 Toll (formerly Birmingham Northern Relief Road)". The Motorway Archive. Archived from the original on 8 August 2008. Retrieved 11 July 2008.
  26. ^ "HICL announces additional investments in 4 existing projects". InfraRed. 6 August 2012. Archived from the original on 2 April 2018. Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  27. ^ "Clinical and research centre reaches milestone". University of Cambridge. 7 November 2005. Retrieved 8 February 2018.
  28. ^ "The lessons of Bluestone" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 5 June 2012.


  • Gray, Tony (1987). The Road to Success: Alfred McAlpine 1935–1985. Rainbird Publishing.

External links[edit]