Over the past 160 years Willmott Dixon has grown into an industry leading business

In 1852 John Willmott undertook his first contract for the sum of £1. Since then, Willmott Dixon has grown into a £1 billion business that remains privately-owned.

Group chief executive Rick Willmott is the fifth generation of the Willmott family to lead the business, aided by some of the industry's most astute people and supported by a team of experts in construction and property services.

Read The Story of John Willmott and Sons (PDF)


1852

John Willmott, a young journeyman bricklayer, founds the company in Bassingbourn, Cambridgeshire.


1878

William John Willmott is the first of John Willmott's sons to buy a conjoining business. The firm becomes known as John Willmott & Sons.


1899

The family starts its tradition of training sons within the business when William John Willmott's son, William George, starts an apprenticeship.


1924

The business separates into John Willmott & Sons (Hitchin) Ltd and John Willmott & Sons (Hornsey) Ltd.


1925

The company completes its first housing development, the Manor Estate.


1952

The company commemorates its 100th anniversary with a dinner and concert for all employees


1957

Harold Sam Willmott takes over from William George Willmott as Chairman.


1965

To widen the company's portfolio, the housing company John Willmott Developments Ltd is formed and trades for over 10 years.


1966

Peter William Willmott replaces his father Harold Sam Willmott as Chairman.


1969

John Willmott & Sons (Hornsey) Ltd and John Willmott & Sons (Hitchin) Ltd reunite under the parent company John Willmott Construction Ltd.


1970

The Group turnover increases to £2.2m.


1971

The company moves its head office to the site of a church where the Willmotts were active during in early 1900s.

The name changes to John Willmott Holdings Ltd.


1972

For a short period of time the company trades in Guernsey through John Willmott Holdings (CI).


1975

The company relocates to a larger space at Henlow, Bedfordshire which offers a suite of offices, warehousing and land with development potential.


1976

The company makes its most significant acquisition, A.S. Symes Ltd, which boosts turnover and establishes a presence in London.


1977

To mark the company's 125th anniversary, celebrated by a dinner and dance for staff, The Ten Year Club is launched to recognises employee loyalty.

The company completes a contract to refurbish the Royal Institution of the Chartered Surveyors (RICS) headquarters in London.


1978

The company moves to Goldinton Road, Bedford where its joinery and plant operations are combined.

The Queen opens the completed RICS headquarters.


1980

The Group turnover increases to £29.8m.


1987

The name of the Group changes to Willmott Dixon Ltd and this is the year when future Chief Executive Colin Enticknap joins.


1988

The company forms The Willmott Dixon Distinction Club to recognise excellence in professional studies.


1991

To expand operations the subsidary company Willmott Dixon Construcoes (Portugal) SA is formed, based in Laoga, Portugal.


1993

Colin Enticknap becomes Group Chief Executive.


1997

Willmott Dixon Housing completes the Blackbird Leys project in Oxford, recognised at the time as the country's largest social housing project.


2000

The company moves its head office to vibrant premises on the Spirella complex in Letchworth Garden City, where it remains today.


2002

The company celebrates its 150th anniversary by entertaining shareholders, staff and their families to a day's racing at Ascot.


2004

To honour its origins, the company replaces the gates to Willmott Playing Fields in Bassingbourne, which Samuel Willmott donated in 1936.


2005

Rick Willmott is appointed Group Chief Executive, with Colin Enticknap becoming Group Chairman. The company floats its support services business Inspace, with Colin Enticknap as Inspace's Executive Chairman.


2008

The company takes Inspace private again.


2012

The company becomes a carbon neutral business.


2014

Company wins a Queen's Award for Enterprise for sustainable development, underlining its impeccable environment credentials.