Family-owned construction firm celebrates 125 years in newly published book

Mark Beard

Family-owned construction firm Beard, which has offices in Oxford and Swindon, has published a book marking 125 years of the company.

Penned by Deputy Chairman Alan Beard, the book – ‘125 Years of Construction 1892–2017: A Family Story’ – traces the history of the firm through five generations of the Beard family, beginning with the somewhat wayward George Henry Beard.

Alan Beard

It was his son – Alan’s grandfather – Edward William Beard who formally established Beard in 1892, at the age of just 14. He went on to live to 104 and featured in the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest working career. Alan himself is now 87 years old and continues to play an active role in the business. His son, Mark Beard, is the fourth generation of the family to head up the firm.

Initially centred around its Swindon HQ, the firm has now expanded to branch offices in Oxford, Guildford and Bristol and carries out projects across southern England. In Oxford this has included working with a number of the University colleges.

Alan’s extensive research and writing took him two years, and the book features a large selection of photographs of the Beard family and of the construction projects the company has been involved in over the years, including many fine examples of the firm’s work on scholastic and ecclesiastical buildings.

The book is not being made available for general sale, but copies can be obtained from Beard’s Swindon office and the firm would invite contributions to the Beard Charitable Foundation, which makes grants to a range of local good causes determined by the firm’s staff. Interested parties should visit, email or call 01793 868 000 for further information.

Alan Beard said: “This has been a real labour of love for me. We have always been a proudly family-run firm; tracing its history has also enabled me to learn much more about my own family’s past.

“I have been thrilled to discover there are still so many photographs and other material still available, and also to discover the real affection the firm is held in by its staff, past and present.”

Current executive chairman Mark Beard said: “This book is a wonderful way to mark the first 125 years of Beard, and to pay tribute to the many people who have worked so hard over the years to make it the success it is today.

“To be able to trace the firm back to its origins and beyond is a powerful reminder that although the construction industry has changed a great deal over the years, the fundamentals – doing the best job and treating people well – are the same now as they were in Queen Victoria’s time.”