2023 marks the 75th anniversary of Shepley Engineers. Our story started on 8th January 1948, when Frank Shepley created what we now know today as Shepley Engineers in Manchester.
That same year, we were working on stainless ducting for the Windscale Piles, and we have had a presence on the site ever since, making us Sellafield’s longest-serving continuous contractor.
75 years is a milestone to be incredibly proud of, and the sheer scale and volume of projects we have been involved in is a reflection of the hard work that has contributed to our longevity and success, including;
- Helping to build the first commercial nuclear power station to export electricity to a public grid.
- Project managing and installing the first ever wind farm in Cumbria.
- Manufacture & install of all structural steelwork at Fantasyland, Disneyland Paris.
- Building the largest nuclear decommissioning project in the UK in Evaporator D.
- Restoring over 30,000 iron components on the Houses of Parliament.
The early years of our history were spent at Sellafield, helping to build a fully operational nuclear facility.
In 1988, a plan had been made to try to diversify our service offering, and become less dependent on Sellafield. Through the connection with Sir Robert McAlpine, who were also on site at Sellafield, Shepley Engineers were asked to complete major iron restoration work on the Grade I listed 5-Star Dorchester Hotel on Park Lane, London. This established us as a specialist restoration and conservation contractor, and not long after this diversification strategy Shepley Dawson Architectural Engineers was born. This saw the company travel far and wide creating decorative ironwork pieces, in Singapore, France, United Arab Emirates, as well as closer to home in Scotland, Swindon, Bradord and London.
In 1992 Shepley Engineers brought the first wind farm to Cumbria, being responsible for project management, coordination and install of the wind farms in Haverigg and Oldside, appointed by Windcluster.
Our first glass house restoration project was completed in 1995, seeing us restore the Curvilinear Range at the Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin, Dublin. This was shortly followed by glass house restoration projects in Liverpool, Sheffield and Glasgow.
Later in 1995 we were restructuring and looking for new backers in the absence of the support from banks, and VHE Holdings Plc subsequently purchased Shepley Engineers for £1.6m, and West Cumberland Engineering were acquired in January 1999 for £541,000. In late 2001, Montpellier Group acquired VHE for £8,825,000 and would now directly control Shepley.
The 2000’s saw a growth period for the Group and several major projects come to light. In 2003, Shepley Engineers were responsible for the ironwork repairs and roof dismantling of St Pancras International, the Grade 1 listed train station and terminus for Eurostar services. At its peak, 110 Shepley operatives worked on the project. In total more than 12,000 wrought iron rivets were replaced by Shepley, with the project value totalling over £17m.
In January 2006 Montpellier Group rebranded to Renew Holdings, as they are known today, and later that year Shepley Engineers purchased PPS Electrical Ltd for £662,000, forming what we know now as the Shepley Group. The addition of these companies helped boost our service offering, strenghten our position in the market and broaden our ME&I credentials.
By 2007, work had began on Evaporator D, the largest nuclear decommissioning project in the UK at the time of construction. Shepley Engineers were responsible for all aspects of ME&I work for the entire project, our largest ever project resource. The good news of the 2000’s was capped off in 2009, when Shepley Engineers were appointed on the roof refurbishment project to the Speakers Court at the Palace of Westminster.
The 2010s saw Shepley Engineers appointed as Main Contractor for the Cast Iron Roof Works on the Houses of Parliament. The works consisted of restoring approximately 30,000 iron components across 5 years, averaging 1m² each. In 2016, in order to increase our delivery in nuclear decommissioning, Shepley Engineers acquired Nuclear Decontamination Services Ltd, a small specialist nuclear services business, for £235,000.
The acquisition of TIS, our fourth acquisition in as many decades, will assist in futureproofing the Group, which will enable us to remain at the forefront of engineering another 75 years from now, both locally and nationally.