Bellway plc is a major UK residential property developer based in Newcastle upon Tyne.[2] It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.

Bellway plc
Traded asLSE: BWY
HeadquartersNewcastle upon Tyne, UK
Key people
John Watson (Chairman)
Ted Ayres (CEO)
Revenue £2,957.7 million (2018)[1]
£652.9 million (2018)[1]
£519.9 million (2018)[1]
Number of employees
2,808 (2018)[1]


The Company was founded in 1946 by John Thomas Bell and his sons John and Russell as a housebuilder operating in Newcastle upon Tyne under the name John T. Bell & Sons.[3] In 1951 Kenneth Bell, the youngest of the brothers, joined the business.[4]

The three brothers also developed commercial property in the 1950s and their company, North British Properties, was floated on the London Stock Exchange in 1961. In 1963, North British acquired John T Bell in a reverse takeover.[5]

The Bell family managed to tap into the huge demand for private housing that followed World War II promoting developments such as Cramlington New Town, built in partnership with William Leech in the early 1960s.[6] Bellway developed a substantial housebuilding operation in the north of England and sales reached 1,500 units in 1972 with a further 500 in the newly formed Australian and French subsidiaries. In 1973, Bellway moved into the south-east with the purchase of A & R A Searle. The group continued to expand through England in the 1970s but its overseas operations were less successful and were eventually closed.[7]

In 1979 the "Bellway" private housebuilding business was demerged from the commercial side of the business under the leadership of Kenneth Bell. In 1981 Bellway and fellow Newcastle housebuilder William Leech announced a merger but it was called off within days: "the lifestyle of the two firms looked pretty incompatible".[8]

Diversification had not been wholly satisfactory; Ken Bell became largely non-executive and the day-to-day running of the business was assumed by Howard Dawe. Howard Dawe reorganised the business, resumed the regional expansion on a more profitable basis and increased the Company's focus on regeneration sites.[7]

Family involvement with the Company ended with the death of Kenneth Bell in 1997.[9]


The Company does not have national house types and prefers to develop local designs with the help of local people.[10] It achieved a 5 star rating in the 2015/16 Home Builders Federation new home customer satisfaction survey.[11]

The company was reported to be on track to build 10,000 homes in 2018 for the first time in its history. This activity was attributed to low interest rates and good mortgage finance providing buoyancy to the housing market.[12]


  1. "Results for the year ended 31 July 2018" (PDF). Bellway Corporate. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 December 2018. Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  2. "Bellway PLC (BWY.L)". Yahoo Finance. Retrieved 21 March 2013.
  3. "British Housebuilders". Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  4. "A reputation you can rely on" (PDF). Bellway. Retrieved 16 April 2017.
  5. Company prospectus, January 1961
  6. No longer the pits Telegraph, 21 March 2003
  7. Wellings, Fred: Dictionary of British Housebuilders (2006) Troubador. ISBN 978-0-9552965-0-5.
  8. Building, June 1981
  9. "Bellway builds on housing recovery". The Independent. 29 October 1997. Archived from the original on 7 November 2008. Retrieved 8 October 2008.
  10. "About us". Bellway. Archived from the original on 14 September 2008. Retrieved 8 October 2008.
  11. "National new home customer satisfaction survey" (PDF). Home Builders Federation. Retrieved 2 May 2017.
  12. Curry, Rhiannon (20 March 2018). "Bellway nears 10,000-homes-a-year target for the first time". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 9 July 2018.
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