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Modern Plant Hire Ltd. History Timeline

Modern Plant Hire Ltd. History Timeline

August 11


1940’s and 1950’s – John McConnell worked his equipment all day and repaired it through much of the night for the next day to use. Early work was in quarrying at the historic Midland Quarry in Nuneaton and Shadwell Quarry in Much Wenlock.


Clement Atlee is the Labour Prime Minister and UK is still placed under rationing after World War II.


1947 Company started by John McConnell with a single Priestman Cub backhoe.

August 11




1958 Modern Plant Hire Ltd. Incorporated in England.


Following several years of nomadic work at various quarries – the first permanent yard is purchased in Newbold on Avon near the Rugby Cement Works.

August 11



Started Work at Rugby Cement Quarry circa 1960.


Spotlight on Demolition – During the 1960’s to 1990’s MPH demolished many historical buildings such was the post war regenerative mode and administrative policies at the time.


Looking back now it seems unfortunate but MPH was trusted to undertake the demolitiuon of some of the areas most iconic buildings. Examples including the Lawrence Sheriff Almshouses, Rugby in early 1960’s, Grand and George Hotels in Rugby, Harrington House in Leamington, Murray, St Matthews and Westlands Girl Schools in Rugby.


1960’s Continued Growth – John diversified and started to work outside Quarries. In the mid 1960’s he worked for George Galliford on the Daventry housing expansion. Daventry was a planned overspill Town planned by Birmingham City Council with Artchitect JA Maudsley.


July 1969 – Apollo 11 astronauts land on the Moon


Harrington House, Leamington




Lawrence Sheriff Almhouses, Town Centre Rugby




August 11


Purchased fist hydraulic ‘Hymac 580’ excavator in mid 1970s. Called 580 as bucket capacity was 5/8 of a cubic yard.



In the early 1970’s MPH move into a newly self-built facility at 28 Somers Road. We were one of the first tenants and constructed the infrastructure for Rugby’s premier Industrial Estate.

August 11


In the mid 1980’s MJ Tarrant and John McConnell’s daughter Rita Tarrant take over day to day running of Modern Plant Hire Ltd


Spotlight – Motorway Lane Rental – MPH were the first UK contractor to undertake lane rental contracts to rebuild complete Motorway carriageways. From the early 1980’s onwards on the M1 and M6 – MPH were involved in 23 seperate schemes from Leicester to London on the M1 and Rugby to Birmingham on the M6. During this time MPH were the first UK users of ‘Metre Eaters’ – revolutionary new jackhammers.


August 11


In the early 1990’s MPH branched into brownfield remediation. At the Standard Triumph site in Canley, Coventry – MPH broke up and recycled the old factory and then installed the new infrastructure at Coventry Business Park.





Once the roads and sewers were installed, MPH then constructed several business units including Mission Foods. This work in conjunction with Tarmac Building – who MPH eventually constructed all the groundworks and foundations of 9 business units at Birmingham Business Park near Birmingham International Airport.


In 1995 MPH move into the former British Telecom Facility at 6 Somers Road. The multi acre plot has considerable office space, workhops, purpose built yard and storage.


Also in the 1990’s MPH worked on the £65m Rugby Works Major Upgrade for AMEC. MPH undetook enabling works, demolition, utilities, drainage, roads and concrete structures. Finished off with removal of old kiln foundations, remediation and hard/soft landscaping for new facility.


Finham Water Treatment Works for Severn Trent – Finham’s huge underground water pipes were used to film the Austin Mini’s in the movie Italian Job!


Birmingham Business Park circa 1999




August 11


MPH have worked on many RAF and MOD bases including RAF Northolt, Halton, Benson, High Wycombe, Uxbridge and Lakenheath. This demonstrates our ability in restricted and live environments to follow procedures while executing our work.



In 2005 MPH demolished and removed 3 dual carriageway bridges over the M6 & M42 in a 48 hour period reopening the closed motorways over 12 hours early. This work was for CAMBBA JV.


MPH have operated its own fleet of tippers for over 50 years going back as far as building Draycote Reservoir. Our modern FORS accredited fleet included the first 44 tonne articulated tippers in the 1990’s saving fuel per payload delivery.


From 2004 until 2012 MPH undertook considserable civils infrastructure work for Skanska at University Hospital Coventry.



From 2006 onwards MPH have built a relationship with Takenaka. In the intervening years we have collaborated on over 10 schemes

August 11


The 2010’s sees MPH undertaking repeat business from its loyal Clients including Takenaka, Skanska, RAF, MOD, DB Cargo





From 2016 to 2019 MPH undertook the External Civils package for AstraZeneca’s new Global HQ in Cambridge