HISTORY

Welcome to the Gardner & Co History page.

Scroll down to find out more about the origins of our company and founder Philip John “Pip” Gardner and our more recent history up to the present day.

1873

The first factory for J. Gardner & Co was opened in circa 1873. The first factory was in Dockhead, Bermondsey, 0.6 miles from the current head office in London.

1914

Start of World War I
28th July 1914

Philip John “Pip” Gardner was born on Christmas Day 1914 at Sydenham, South London, the son of Stanley J Gardner.

1918

End of the First World War
11th November 1918

1931

He was educated at Dulwich, where he played rugby for the school and blew the bugle on Armistice Day. He chose rifle-shooting in preference to cricket & practised on ranges at Bisley. At 17 he joined J Gardner and Co, the family engineering firm.

1934

When he was 19 the company sent him to Hong Kong for two years, entrusting him with the drawing work for the installation of heating and ventilating equipment at the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank.

Whilst here, he joined the Hong Kong Volunteer Defence Force.

1936

Edward VIII abdicates
10th December 1936

1938

After returning home, he joined the Westminster Dragoons TA in 1938, confiding to a friend in a letter: “I must do my duty, but I’m no soldier”.

Gardner delivery

1939

Britain declares war on Germany – World War II
3rd September 1939

1940

In March 1940 Gardner was commissioned as a subaltern into the Royal Tank Regiment. In September he spent four weeks at the Irregular Warfare School at Lochailort on the west coast of Scotland, where Lord Lovat was in charge of the field-craft course.

1941

He was posted to the 4th Royal Tank Regiment in the Western Desert in 1941 and was awarded two gallantry medals for his actions during his time here.

The first, his MC awarded in June 1941 and his second, the VC awarded in November 1941.

1942

In June 1942, after the fall of Tobruk, Pip Gardner was captured and sent to Italy as a prisoner of war. He later escaped, but was recaptured by the Germans and sent firstly to Stalag IV B in Muhlberg and then to Stalag 79 near Brunswick. Here he helped to raise £13,000 in pledges from other POWs to start a boys club in Fulham. After the war he returned to Gardner & Co.

1945

World War II Ends
2nd September 1945

The citation for his VC declared: “The courage, determination and complete disregard for his own safety displayed by Captain Gardner enabled him, despite his wounds and in the face of intense fire at close range, to save the life of his fellow officer in circumstances fraught with great difficulty and danger.” Gardner was invested with the VC by King George VI at Buckingham Palace on May 18th 1945.

pip gardner

1948

A site for the Brunswick Boys’ Club was purchased in Fulham and building work completed in 1948. The Duke of Edinburgh opened the club the following year. Philip Gardner was president for 40 years.

1951

In 1951 J Gardner & Co completed work on the Royal Festival Hall where they manufactured and installed 170 tons of air duct.

advert for festival hall work

1955

After the war, Gardner was appointed joint managing director of the family firm; he became chairman in 1955.

gardner advert
j gardner and co advert
j gardner advert

1970

The Sydenham “New Monument works”, factory estate in Kent House Lane was an amazing place, almost totaly self sufficient.

It had, along with the sheet metal, structural steelworks and semiskilled workshops and stores, it’s own maintenance department (in case of machinery breakdown), garages with fully trained mechanics to look after all of the company’s vehicles, 2 drawing offices, Contracts Drawing Office and Production Drawing Office.

Estimating and commercial departments, a rate fixing department for giving, piecemeal, manufacturing targets and a print room, where the dyeline “blueprints” were produced, as well as both staff and works canteens.

1980

Gardner & Co were the first Ductwork Company to undertake an “Airside” package, this was first introduced on the Cutler’s Gardens (Devonshire Square) development near Liverpool Street station.

Shortly after this Gardner & Co took on full contractor status on Finsbury Avenue and Broadgate developments.

1984

Philip Gardner approached Peter Legge and Bill Cox to see if they were interested in the purchase of Gardner & Co – and with financial backing of Mr C. W. Egleton – a deal was done and the ownership passed to the three of them in late 1984.

1987

The company floated on the third market of the London Stock Exchange and with the acquisition of the other companies the name was changed to “The Beckenham Group”. However, J Gardner became a division of the “The Beckenham Group” under the leadership of Peter Legge. 

Numerous projects were carried out over the next 7 years, including CAP Southampton, Waterloo International, European Bank, Herbert Smith and the continuation of Broadgate.

1994

Due to the major recession in 1994 the only profitable arm of “The Beckenham Group” was J Gardner division and therefore after the demise of “The Beckenham Group”, J Gardner was reformed initially to “Invicta” but subsequently to “Gardner & Co (Kent) Ltd” 

Staffed by J Gardner Directors, Kevin Burrows (Contract Director) and Mike Grace (Commercial Director) and other staff under the leadership of Peter Legge as Managing Director. The Company went from strength to strength.

1997

Major airside projects started this year include 31 Gresham Street.

1998

Major airside projects started this year includes Christ Church Court and 59 Gresham Street.

1999

The first airside project started on Chiswick Park. (Gardner & Co successfully completed Airside Packages on 14 Buildings on the development in the following years).

2001

J A Glover Ltd – Manufacturing and Distribution business incorporated in 1971 was formed into the Gardner Group.

Major projects started this year include Queen Victoria Street & Times Square.

2003

Philip “Pip” Gardner passes away on the 14th February 2003.

Major projects started this year include W8 Regent Street and One Bishops Square.

2004

Peter Legge took on the role of Chairman, Stephen Legge became Managing Director and Richard Legge joined the board as Sales Director.

Major projects started this year include Unilever House

2006

Major projects started this year include Bow Bells House

2007

Major projects started this year include Central Saint Giles project

2008

Richard Legge was promoted to Joint Managing Director based in the new London office at 1-5 Bermondsey Street.

Major projects started this year include HP Enterprise Services Mega data centre at Wynyard Business Park, Billingham

2009

Major projects started this year include The Shard, New Court and One New Change projects

2010

Major projects started this year include Park House

2011

Following the success of the data centre project, Stephen Legge sets up new venture – Gardner Data Centres Solutions (GDCS) and Richard Legge became Managing Director of Gardner & Co.

Major projects started this year include NEQ (Regents Place) and The Place (London Bridge)

2013

Major projects started this year include 70 Mark Lane

2014

Major projects started this year include South Bank Tower

2015

Major projects started this year include UBS fit out, One Angel Court and Ruskin Square Building

2016

Major projects started this year include TIQ Building, Wood Wharf Infrastructure and Chelsea Barracks (Phase 2)

2017

Richard Legge incorporated a new company into the Gardner Group called “Gardner FRD Ltd which specialises in Fire Rated Ductwork.

Major projects started this year include 70 St Mary Axe (Can of Ham)

2018

Major projects started this year include Battersea Power Station, 150 Bishopsgate and Damac Tower

2019

Major projects started this year include Northern Line Extension, KGX1 Fit Out and 8 Bishopsgate 

Present Day

Gardner & Co continue to specialise in Airside Package projects as one of Britain’s leading Ductwork Contractors.

Gardner Group Accreditations

Alcumus Safe Contractor Certificate number: GG9962
CHAS
Contractor Health & Safety Assessment Scheme
Achilles Accredited
Achilles Building Confidence
Certificate number: 785d - EN1366-1
Certificate number: 785d - EN1366-1
Certificate number: 785e - EN1366-8
Certificate number: 785e - EN1366-8
Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme
Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme
considerate constructors
Considerate Constructors Registration no: C2107
feta logo
Federation of Environmental Trade Associations Membership no: 1221
iso 45001
Assessed to ISO 45001:2019
ISO 27001
Assessed to ISO 27001:2013
ISO 14001:2004
Assessed to ISO 14001:2004
ISO 9001 2015
Assessed to ISO 9001:2015