Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 138,970 pages of information and 225,312 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Wolseley Hughes

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of Witton, Birmingham

1958 The company was started through the merging of Wolseley Engineering and George H. Hughes

1959 Acquired Electromagnets

1960 Nu-Way became a member of the Wolseley Hughes group of companies.

1961 Wolseley Engineering: manufacturers of sheep shearing and horse and cattle clipping machines, electric fencer units, small cultivators and combines, petrol and paraffin engines, toilet clippers and aero engine components.

1960s Acquired a number of heating and oil burning companies in rapid succession in the UK. A move into merchanting followed.

1965 The subsidiaries included[1]:

1979 the Group sold its manufacturing companies to focus solely on distribution.

From 1980, the Group expanded its businesses through organic growth and acquisitions in the USA, Canada and Europe.

1986 The Group was listed on the London Stock Exchange and changed its name to Wolseley plc.

1990 Acquired Dynacast - not sure about the source of this; maybe a different company?

1993 Acquisition of the Enertech Group of companies; combined with Nu-way to form the largest burner group in the world.

From the 1990s to the mid-2000s, the Group continued to expand across Europe, including into the Netherlands, Switzerland, Ireland, Belgium and the Nordic region, the USA and Canada.

2005 Wolseley acquired Encon, Yorkshire-based supplier of insulation[2]

2009 as a result of the financial crisis, the Group implemented a comprehensive restructuring programme across its businesses to reduce fixed costs and close underperforming branches. During this period, the Group focused its resources, in particular, on the core plumbing and heating markets. This strategy resulted in the disposal of a number of the Group’s businesses.

2017 the Group changed its name to Ferguson plc to better align the name of the Group with its largest subsidiary in the USA.

2018 the Group exited its Nordic Operations, a building materials distributor.

2019 the Group disposed of Wasco (its Netherlands B2B business), the remaining Central European business unit.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Times, 16 December 1965
  2. The Times, October 25, 2005
  • Birmingham’s Industrial Heritage by Ray Shill. Published by Sutton Publishing 2002. ISBN 0-7509-2593-0
  • [1] Wolseley
  • [2] Ferguson plc