George Wimpey Plc – Today
George Wimpey Plc is a dedicated housebuilding company. With 125 years' experience, we have an unparalleled record in our industry. We have operations in the UK and US and aim to be the housebuilder of choice for our customers, our employees, our shareholders and for the communities in which we operate
Our 26 regional businesses and three satellites in the UK give our operations significant scale and truly national geographic coverage. Each business unit provides a range of products, from one bedroom apartments and starter homes to large detached family homes.
Our UK homes are sold under two distinct brands: the core 'George Wimpey' brand and the 'Laing Homes' brand which had previously been used solely in the South East and Midlands. Going forward all our businesses will have the opportunity to use both brands. This will allow better use of large sites and provide greater returns on future land purchases.
In the US, our 'Morrison Homes' brand operates in 14 of the strongest housing markets across five states from California to Florida. In recent years Morrison Homes has gone from strength to strength, building on its reputation for delivering quality homes with outstanding levels of customer service.
The business continues to experience rapid growth, delivering circa 5,000 homes in 2005 with operating profits more than trebling over the past five years. Morrison builds a range of traditional single family homes and more compact attached town homes.
George Wimpey Plc– A brief history
In 1880, George Wimpey established a stone working business in Hammersmith. George Wimpey and Company soon became a contractor of ‘high repute' responsible for major building projects as well as new road and tramway contracts throughout London.
In 1919, G W Mitchell purchased the company from the Wimpey family. He continued to expand the road contracting business and during the 1920s he led Wimpey in their first moves into house building. The period between the two world wars saw Wimpey established as a household name in the fields of building and civil engineering.
By the time of the company's centenary in 1980, Wimpey had become a major international contractor and house builder, with branches throughout the world and during the 1970s established its reputation as the UK's largest private house builder. As well as developing its own housing businesses in the UK, Australia and Canada, Wimpey also acquired an experienced US housing business, Morrison Homes, in 1984.
In 1996, McLean Homes was acquired from Tarmac and George Wimpey dedicated itself to home building and became one of the world's largest private housebuilders. In October 2001 McAlpine Homes was acquired adding to the strength of the UK housing business. Late in 2002 George Wimpey Plc acquired Laing Homes to further strengthen the existing UK business by adding a premium brand.
George Wimpey PLC – A world leader in housing
Both McLean Homes and Wimpey began building and selling homes in the 1920s. The first estate Wimpey built was Greenford Park Estate where a three bedroom terraced house sold for £575. Despite the depression of the 30s, Wimpey houses were selling fast. By 1934 John McLean had become involved in a new area of the housing market building homes for local authorities.
After the war Britain suffered a shortage of both bricks and skilled labour, the Government needed to rehouse the war torn population as well improve the standard of its housing. In response to this, Wimpey perfected the No-Fines technique. The fast concrete based method providing excellent insulation proved to be irresistible and the technique was used to build more homes for local authorities than any other system.
Addressing the chronic housing shortage after the war was a primary objective for the Government. By the early 1950s, Wimpey was building 18,000 local authority dwellings a year. In 1954, Government restrictions on private housing were lifted and, for the first time in 15 years, both Wimpey and McLean were building private houses again. In 1953, John McLean opened a fully furnished show home with the garage fitted out as a sales centre – one of the first of its kind in the UK. Visitors often queued for hours to see the new concept.
Prime Minister Macmillan told the nation that they ‘never had it so good'. The housing market was booming, with the Wimpey regional businesses often having to turn work away. John McLean was also expanding, and by 1968 the company was achieving between 1,000 and 1,200 home sales each year.
Local authority housing policies changed and high rise flats were no longer acceptable. Wimpey altered its focus to build low-rise dwellings on landscaped estates. Refurbishment of existing local authority homes became an important part of the business. Wimpey became the UK's largest private house builder selling 106,440 homes in this decade. In 1974 Tarmac acquired John McLean.
This was a decade when both Wimpey Homes and John McLean continued to grow rapidly and expand into new areas of the UK. Wimpey began to reinforce Wimpey Homes as a brand, focusing on quality compact housing. Advertising, featuring the famous Wimpey cat, ensured Wimpey became a household name in house building.
Tarmac also expanded, acquiring new companies to create a nationwide presence, with local businesses spanning from Scotland to Cornwall. In 1984 Wimpey acquired the Morrison Homes business in Northern California.
The businesses continued to grow with Wimpey becoming one of the world's largest private homebuilders, expanding its business in the States and Australia as well as the UK. In 1996 Wimpey concluded its construction and quarry business and concentrated on housing when it acquired McLean Homes from Tarmac.
George Wimpey Today
With unparalleled experience of building homes, George Wimpey today continues to be a dedicated house building company and is at the forefront of the industry in health and safety, build quality and customer service. George Wimpey is committed to creating and delivering value for our customers and shareholders and to ensuring that George Wimpey offers the opportunity for a long term secure and rewarding investment.