W. & C. French

W. & C. French, also known just as French, was a civil engineering company based at Buckhurst Hill in south-west Essex.

W. & C. French Limited
Public company
IndustryCivil engineering
SuccessorKier Group
Founded1870 (1870)
DefunctNovember 6, 1973 (1973-11-06)
Headquarters50 Epping New Road, Buckhurst Hill, Essex, IG9 5TH
Area served
UK, Uganda, Kenya, South Africa, Malawi, Spain
ServicesRoad construction


The business of Messrs W. and C. French was established by William French and his brother Charles French in 1870.[1]

Second World War

In the Second World War it constructed many RAF airfields and also built Mulberry harbour units.[2]

Public company

On 19 September 1949 it became a public company, when the Chairman of the company was Charles Samuel French, the son of William French. Another director was Brigadier John Linnaeus French CB CBE (18 November 1896 - 12 March 1953), a former commander of Colchester Garrison, and brother of Charles. Its transport depot was at Loughton. They had other depots at Colchester and Wisbech and carried out most of its work in East Anglia. The company was acquired by Kier Group in 1973.[3]

Major projects




  1. "Allan George French". The Bancroftian Network. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  2. Hartcup, p. 94
  3. "Colin Busby". Building. 2001. Retrieved 28 January 2015.
  4. "The River Welland major improvement scheme" (PDF). South Holland Life. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  5. "BOAC maintenance headquarters". Engineering Times. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  6. "Hanningfield Facts". Essex & Suffolk Water. Archived from the original on 25 July 2008.
  7. "Westland Heliport Opening" (PDF). British Universities Film and Video Council. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  8. "Queen Elizabeth II Reservoir". Pastscape. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  9. "New Hall Archives". Janus. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  10. "Buckden: A Huntingdonshire Village". p. 154. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  11. "The Queen Mother Reservoir, Datchet" (PDF). Ground Engineering. October 1976. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  12. "British construction projects". Manchester University. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  13. "Thurcroft to Wadworth". Motorway Archive. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  14. "Bridges on the M6 Motorway" (PDF). Concrete Quarterly. January 1971. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  15. "Pole Moor to Outlane". Motorway Archive. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  16. "Outlane to Hartshead". Motorway Archive. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  17. "Pollington to Rawcliffe". Motorway Archive. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  18. "Construction contracts". Hansard. 8 July 1975. Retrieved 14 September 2015.


  • Hartcup, Guy (2011). Code Name Mulberry: The Planning Building and Operation of the Normandy Harbours. Pen & Sword Military. ISBN 978-1848845589.
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