Our History

James (Jim) Mercer formed James Mercer (Preston) Ltd in 1936.

James Mercer Group LTD employee and branded van

Jim had learnt his trade whilst working for Dilworth & Carr and decided to set up his own business. He established his Company in premises known as Canal Bridge Works in Preston. In the days of solid fuel boilers and cast iron pipework with caulked joints, his men carried the equipment by hand cart or by public transport for more distant jobs.

It was common for men to lodge away from home even a few miles from Preston and return home every two weeks. The Company was incorporated in 1941 and Jim’s son, also called Jim, joined the business. Sadly Jim Junior died during his father’s working life and so Tom Moxham who worked for the Company was invited to become a director. In 1955 Dick Hayes and Jim Curran joined the Company.

In order to secure work in the Merseyside area a branch office was opened in Liverpool in 1957, and due to a compulsory purchase order for Canal Bridge Works alternative premises were needed and the Company relocated to Tulketh Hall Works in Hesketh Street in Preston.

Tom Moxham and Jim Curran died in 1962 and 1966 respectively and with the majority of the shareholding being in these families, a caretaker management team administered the business. The second generation of the Moxham and Curran families joined the Company in 1964 and 1965, and John Moxham was appointed Managing Director in 1981.


James Mercer Group LTD employee inspecting with notepad

Whilst the Company had always carried out some Service and Maintenance work a decision was taken in 1991 to develop this sector and now the department employs 44 mobile service engineers. In 1998 a department was set up to install and service comfort cooling systems. The Company had traditionally sub-let this work but it was felt that an improved overall service could be provided to our clientele by having this facility in-house. In 2003 a dedicated Plumbing department was created. Due to an increasing trend for main contractors wishing to place one order for all aspects of building services it was felt that advantages could be gained by offering this facility.

Paul Catterall and Stephen Potter were appointed to the Board of Directors in 1997 followed by Jenny Mayor who joined in 2000.

In 2000 a restructuring of the Company took place and a new Company was established in the name of The James Mercer Group Ltd, with all the equity being held by the Moxham family. Also in 2000 the third generation of the Moxham family namely Andrew joined the Company and was subsequently appointed to the board of directors in 2006. Paul Moxham joined the company in 2007 and has responsibility for Health and Safety, Quality Assurance, Environmental and Logistics.

The turnover of the Company in 1941 was £4800 and this has grown to £29 million in 2017.