Bayford & Co

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Bayford & Co Ltd
Industry Fuel cards
Pollution prevention
Commercial property lets
Upmarket holiday homes
Founded 1919
Headquarters Bowcliffe Hall, UK
Key people

Chief Executive: Jonathan Turner

Managing Director: Liz Slater
Divisions Be Fuelcards
Battlebox Company
The Right Fuelcard Company
Bayford Truck 1922.jpg

The Bayford Group is a British company founded in 1919 in Leeds, England. The Company has several businesses in its varied portfolio, including BP fuel card distributor Be Fuelcards;[1] property development company Bayford Developments; pollution prevention business Aquasentry; children's adventure kit supplier, Battlebox; holiday rentals portfolio, Decadent Retreats; and Shell fuel card agent The Right Fuelcard Company.


Bayford Truck 1965.jpg

Bayford was founded in Leeds by four survivors of the World War I who decided to pool their resources to establish a coal agents business. Whilst searching for a suitable title for their enterprise, they hit on the idea of using the name of the Hertfordshire village of Bayford where they had been demobilized at the end of the war. They were joined by Frederick Turner as an office junior. He eventually rose to become the Company Chairman and remained so until the 1970s. The Bayford company maintained a steady growth in the solid fuel business in the first period of its life – successfully weathering difficult periods such as the General Strike, World War II and the nationalisation of the coal industry. The firm then diversified into the petrol and oil distribution business as coal declined.


David Turner joined his father Frederick in the business in 1958 and in 1962 it was David Turner’s decision to start selling oil, based on the view that as more and more people were turning from coal to oil for home heating, “one followed the customer or lost the business”. In 1967 Bayford moved to new premises in Pepper Road, off Hunslet Road, Leeds and Bayford also began importing cargoes of oil from abroad via Immingham, to feed its Fleet storage facility and its tankers. This was a first for a UK independent company.

In 1969 Bayford decided to market low price petrol. The name Thrust was inspired by news reports of Concorde’s maiden flight and the description of the “tremendous thrust” of its engines. The first petrol pump to carry the new sign, complete with the Concorde insignia, was in Ossett, West Yorkshire. Thrust rapidly built up to a chain of 45 outlets by the end of 1970 and 85 by 1972.

In 1970 Bayford Developments started trading by purchasing investment properties in Biggin Hill and Mitchum in Surrey.

By 1976 Bayford was delivering 100,000 tones of coal each week to Yorkshire’s power stations, after striking an agreement with the CEGB (Central Electricity Generating Board). Bayford continued to supply significant quantities of coal into the 1990s, and during the 1980s were also supplying some 3 million litres of oil per day to the region’s power stations.

By 1979 the company's Fleet Storage depot by the Aire and Calder Canal in Leeds had an annual throughput of 150,000 tons of fuel per year.

Bayford was still heavily involved in the coal market in the 1980s. At its peak, Bayford Mining was producing from sites in Yorkshire, Lancashire and in the North and East of Scotland. The average life of an opencast mine was around 18 months, after which time the land was restored to its former use.

Growth in the 90s and 00s[edit]

In 1988 Bayford moved into new headquarters at Bowcliffe Hall[2] in Bramham, West Yorkshire – a 19th-century listed building next to the Bramham Park Grounds.

In the first of several acquisitions, Bayford took over Holderness Fuel Supplies Ltd in 1991. Holderness had a throughput of 35 million litres from three depots, in Leeds, Humberside and Malton, North Yorkshire. Bayford bought out British Fuel’s share of the Fleet Storage facility at Woodlesford in 1993. Bayford acquired twenty-two Yorkshire filling stations from Elf Oil (UK) Ltd and seven petrol station sites in the North East from Texaco, which were operated under the Thrust Petroleum brand in 1994. Bayford acquired the commercial oil business, Burmah Petroleum Fuels Ltd in 1995. The move effectively tripled the size of Bayford’s oil business and made it Britain's largest privately owned distributor of commercial oils.

Jonathan Turner was appointed Managing Director of the "Bayford Group" in 2000.

In 2001 Bayford gained the UK rights to the Gulf brand, in a deal with Gulf Oil International, and also launched a new business, (Gulf Lubricants UK Ltd), in association with Gulf, to market and sell lubricants. The company became involved in a £47m deal to buy the 400-strong network of Save petrol stations, the largest independent petrol network in the UK.

Bayford launched Countrywide Fuel Cards in partnership with BP in 2003, selling fuel cards through BP branded sites. Bayford also launched InterCity Fuel Cards in partnership with Shell, operating initially as separate businesses.

In 2004 Jonathan Turner bought Bayford and Company Ltd from family shareholders.

Following the Fambo buy-out, Bayford acquired three new fuel card businesses, Central Fuel Cards, Truckhaven Ltd and Routemate Fuel Cards. This saw Bayford’s fuel card business become the only company to have partnerships with the three biggest fuel brands in the UK, Esso, Shell and BP, as well as adding the most widely accepted diesel-bunkering card on the market, to its portfolio. By taking over three fuel card businesses and the two fuel distribution companies, as well as pollution prevention company Aquasentry,[3] Bayford earned itself the title of ‘Acquirer of the Year 2006’ at the Business XL Magazine Company of the Year Awards.[4]

Following a year of record profits and sustained organic growth, in 2006 Bayford completed the acquisition of Askham Oil Supplies, one of the UK’s leading authorised distributors for Texaco. Bayford’s fuel distribution operations now extend from North Wales to the Lincolnshire coast, and right up to the Scottish border.

A Change of Direction[edit]

In 2007 Liz Slater was appointed Managing Director of Bayford & Company Ltd, with Jonathan Turner becoming the company’s Chief Executive.

In the same year Bayford ventured into the online arena with the launch of The site allowed home heating oil users to get an instant quote, order oil and select their preferred delivery date at the click of a button. In its first year of trading sold more than 1 million litres of home heating oil to customers across the UK.

In 2007 Bayford & Co Ltd sold The Fuelcard Company to US-based card operator Fleetcor. Bayford retained its Truckhaven and Countrywide Fuelcards business as an official distributor of BP fuel cards. In June 2008 Truckhaven and Countrywide Fuelcards were brought together under one brand, Be Fuelcards.[5]

In 2009 Jonathan Turner took the decision to sell Bayford Oil, and Gulf to GB Oils, a DCC company.Following the sale to GB Oils, the Bayford Group retained Be Fuelcards, Aquasentry, Bayford Properties and Bayford Developments. In 2009 the Aquasentry team was strengthened and the company moved to new offices in Birstall, near Leeds.

In 2010 Bayford launched Decadent Retreats, a company focussed on restoring two holiday homes in the Northumberland town of Bamburgh. The properties, Greysteads and Wynding Head, are available for holiday lets. They can be booked through Northumbrian Cottages.

2011 saw the launch of several new ventures for the Bayford company. The Right Fuelcard Company was established in Hunslet, Leeds as an independent agent selling exclusively the Shell fuel card. In the same year Rontec Investments LLP, a consortium led by Snax 24, purchased assets from Total including 810 retail sites. Immediately, following the acquisition, 254 of these retail sites were sold to Shell UK for £240m.

In the deal The Right Fuelcard Company, part of the Bayford Group and a partner in the Rontec consortium, acquired Total‘s fuel card customers. Shell agreed that The Right Fuelcard Company could market the joint branded fuel card. Early in 2012 existing Total card holders will receive a new dual-branded card enabling them to draw fuel from either Total or Shell sites. Over time, company-owned Total sites will be rebranded as Shell. In respect of dealer owned sites, the decision as to which brand to go with will be theirs.

In the same year Jaytee Ripon LLP was set up and submitted an application to build a motorway service area on the A1 near Ripon. Bayford Properties also embarked on a building project to add a block of 14 apartments a few miles further north, in Northallerton. These are expected to be complete early in 2012.

This year also saw the Bayford team purchase the majority shareholding in The Battlebox Company. The business sells adventure kits for children to encourage creative play, exploration and a love of the great outdoors. The adventure kits include outdoor camping kits, soldiers survival kits and woodland camouflage kits.

Today the Bayford Group remains a diverse holding company with interests in energy, fuel cards, property investment and development, pollution prevention and e-commerce.


  1. ^ Be Fuelcards
  2. ^ [1] Archived 3 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ "Oil Spill Prevention | Separator Alarms | Pollution Control Devices". Retrieved 23 February 2013. 
  4. ^ Business XL Article
  5. ^ "Fuel Cards | BP Fuel Cards – Petrol & Diesel Fuel Buying". 7 June 2012. Retrieved 23 February 2013. 

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