Our History

The Welch Group was founded in 1934 by brothers Gordon and Jim Welch with one 3-tonne Morris petrol truck in Foxton; a small village in southern Cambridgeshire. From humble beginnings the company has just seen the fourth generation of the Welch family enter the business and employs 160 industry professionals across 6 sites with an annual turnover of close to £13 million.

From that single depot in Foxton the company has grown steadily into a nationwide service provider, diversifying into many related industries. From the outset the business ethic has always been to own all of its vehicles and property outright so that costs are kept to a minimum in order to offer the most competitive rates possible to the various marketplaces.

Having enjoyed success we expanded our services to offer mobile crane hire and specialist movement services, truck & van service and maintenance and warehousing & fulfilment solutions.

Please have a look through the pictures from the history books, you never know you may see a familiar face. Or skip through our timeline to see how the Welch brothers business has grown!


Welch Group Timeline
  • 1934
  • 1935
  • 1940
  • 1949
  • 1952
  • 1954
  • 1955
  • 1964
  • 1974
  • 1976
  • 1994
  • 2001
  • 2003
  • 2006
  • 2007
  • 2009
  • 2014
  • 2015

On the 25th March 1934, Welch’s Transport is founded by Gordon and Jim Welch with a single Morris petrol truck to their name, in Foxton, Cambridgeshire. The first contract customer on the books was Eastwood Cement Works.

A second contract customer arrived in the form of The East Anglian Cement Co. (later Rugby Cement); a relationship that would last for over 60 years until the plant closed in 2004. In 1936, the Group obtained their ‘A’ Licence and within five years had acquired all three local hauliers that originally opposed the licence application.

The group acquires a second depot, this time based in Stapleford, Cambridgeshire. An impressive contract with Spicers soon followed, one which would last for 68 years. Later in this year, Welch Group Garages opened, prompting a further diversification of the services on offer.

The haulage industry was nationalised and Welch’s 15 vehicles were amalgamated into part of the ‘Eastern Region of British Road Services’ of which Gordon Welch was made manager. Welch Group Garages managed to acquire a ‘C’ Licence which meant they were permitted to continue running one vehicle.

The early 50's saw rapid expansion as the Group grew from strength to strength. In 1952 Welch Group Garages acquired a Vauxhall car dealership and Bedford Truck agency.

In 1954 came the denationalisation of the haulage industry and within a few years Welch’s boasted a  fleet of over 200 vehicles with depots across the UK in Norfolk, Hereford, Bedfordshire, Essex, London, Yorkshire and Cambridge.

The group ensures the retention of its family-run status as Roger Welch enters the business, moving into the second generation of the family.

Welch’s Transport receives its biggest ever contract for BHS (British Home Stores), handling all its warehousing, collections and deliveries, supported by 100 vehicles. This lasted until the late 1970s when the contract was sold to Christian Salvesen.

Welch’s consolidates its fleet and premises to three locations: Cambridge, Bedford and Essex.

Tony Welch enters the business and starts his training as a workshop engineer — third generation. In 1987 Jim Welch enters the business taking control of the accounts department – third generation.

Welch’s is a founding member of the Palletways network, one of the first pallet freight networks in the UK and Europe. With the growing number of contract customers asking for additional services like livered vehicles, dedicated drivers and storage, the Welch’s Contract Distribution division is formed.

 

Space Age contract starts with Spicers, a leading wholesaler of office suppliers; this lasts for 15 years until the Space Age division is shut down. As a testament to the contract's hardworking team, the Welch Group helps fund some of the team members to start up on their own, forming what is known today as JPS Installs.

Hamley’s contract starts and you will still be able to see a Welch’s unit and trailer parked on London’s Regent Street every night, delivering the flagship store's daily intake of toys and games.

Welch’s acquired MJA Movement with its 25 years' industry experience of moving specialist loads, forming Welch’s Specialist Movements. In the following year Welch’s Transport’s Henlow Depot wins its biggest distribution and storage contract for Hanmere Polythene, a relationship still going strong today.

Welch’s becomes a member of the Hazchem Network, a UK-wide Dangerous Goods Network and starts working with key customers such as AutoGlym.

Welch’s contract division grows with Welch’s Transport taking on the majority of Paperchase UK Stores. Today, Welch’s vehicles service its 130 stores day and night.

Welch’s Garages turns back to its roots from the 1940s and concentrates on truck and van sales, servicing and parts. Rebranding itself as WTL Truck and Van Centres.

The fourth generation of the Welch Family joins the group in the form of Chris Welch, Jim Welch’s eldest son.

2015 saw the creation of the Welch's Apprenticeship Scheme, 'Get in Gear'; taking anyone through their Forklift, Class 2 (Cat C) and Class 1 (Cat C+E) licences.

Stapleford depot closes after 75 years of faithful service and moves 5 miles down the road to Welch’s brand new, multi-million pound, custom-built transport and commercial Duxford site. A great facility designed to see the group through the next 81 years.