4 April 2024News

Warden set to celebrate 70th anniversary

Warden Construction colleagues past and present will come together next month to celebrate the company’s 70th birthday.

May marks seven decades since the business was founded in Lancashire in 1954 by the Kenworthy family, initially as a building supplies business before becoming a contractor in its own right in the early 1960s.

Ian Williams, managing director of Warden, said: “From its early days as a building materials supplier to becoming the regional contractor it is today, the Warden story is an eventful and successful one.

“While the business has grown significantly, it still feels like a family firm – which is very important to us. Our current leadership team always talk about us being custodians rather than owners of the business.

“We want Warden to be around in another 70 years, still delivering buildings that have a positive impact on people and building social value for our communities.”

Adrian Atkinson, commercial director of Warden, added: “Everything that is important to us now, like looking after people, investing in skills and training, and going above and beyond for our clients, has been there from the very beginning.

“Our 70th anniversary comes at a time we’re we continue to grow and diversify, helping clients in a wide range of sectors, and also supporting our clients with big challenges like fire safety and decarbonisation.”

The history of Warden Construction

In 1954, Robert (Bob) Kenworthy left his job as managing director of a large regional building contractor to set up Warden Builders Supplies Ltd. The company supplied building materials and construction plant to large construction companies and initially provided gravel, stone and excavators for runway building projects throughout England.

In the early 1960s, Warden Building Supplies became Warden Builders as the company started undertaking groundworks, predominantly for petrol filling stations forecourts. By the mid-sixties the firm was undertaking building work for the first time, with one of the first projects being the refurbishment of the Midland (now HSBC) Bank in St Annes-On-Sea.

David Kenworthy joined the business in 1972 and was followed by his brother Peter. During the 1970s the company became a well-respected building contractor with a strong specialism in the construction of petrol filling stations for major oil companies and supermarket retail operators. During the 1980s, Warden continued working on petroleum installations throughout the UK, but also developed a strong presence as a respected local builder with the public and private sectors.

Following a management buyout in 1984, David Kenworthy became managing director, and the business grew throughout the 80s and 90s into a regional building contractor undertaking housing, commercial, industrial, education and healthcare projects for public and private sector customers.

In 1997, Richard Kenworthy joined Warden with the company progressing into partnering framework arrangements with blue chip and public sector clients. As the service offering developed, the company became Warden Construction Limited and began offering a full end to end service from land acquisition to facility management.

In the 2000s, Warden continued to build a reputation for delivering challenging projects in the education, healthcare, public sector, and commercial and industrial sectors, with Ian Williams and Adrian Atkinson becoming a key part of the management team.

Ian and Adrian continued to oversee the growth of Warden and led a further management buyout of the company in 2021. The existing management team has instilled a strong ethos of attracting, developing and retaining talented people, as well as putting social value and sustainability at the heart of the business.