In 1863 Mr. Sigismund Pollitzer, London Paper agent, and Mr. John Beck established a general carrier and warehousing partnership at 211 Upper Thames Street. The partnership flourished and quickly grew to become one of the key wharfingers, importers and distributors in London. However, not everything went to plan as in 1876 fire destroyed the Company’s bonded warehouses at Upper Brooks Wharf along with its contents of Brandy, Cigars and other luxury goods.
Following the death of founder John Beck in 1889, Sigismund Pollitzer invited his sons Frank and Percy Pollitzer to join the business and they were subsequently made partners in 1895. By the turn of the century the business was booming and the Company purchased additional premises along the Thames. Riverside cranes were installed and horses began to give way to steam traction engines, increasing carrying capacity and speed of distribution.
In 1907 the business expanded into exhibition contracting and stand manufacturing as well as growing its existing business into transport and export packing. By the end of the First World War these new business areas were thriving and the Company was able to invest in growing its fleet of motorised vehicles so it could provide better services to its customers.
By the 1920’s the Company was starting to undertake machinery moving as part of its transport and packing business, offering additional capabilities at a time of growing industrial activity. Even the economic crash, at the end of the decade, did not stop the growth of the Company as the Directors took the business overseas to find new opportunities.
In 1932 new members of the Pollitzer family joined the Company including Frank’s sons Joseph and George and Percy’s son Edward.
In 1933 the Company moved its head office to a state of the art building at Universal House on the Southwark Bridge. It was here that machine moving expanded and the Company started to introduce a range of mobile cranes to enable it to move increasingly heavy loads.
By the Second World War Frank and Percy had retired leaving the 3rd generation of Pollitzers to guide the business through the war, supporting the nation with wartime transportation and shipping. By the end of the war the Company was as strong as ever and even played a key role in re-establishing trade links between the UK and Europe. The Company was also involved in the 1948 Olympics as Beck & Pollitzer were commissioned to transport athletic equipment and art from all over the world.
In 1954 the business was floated on the London Stock Exchange as Joseph Pollitzer left the business and sold his shares to the public. By this point Company departments were located by activity; exhibition services at Hampstead, export packing in South London and Manchester, transport, cranes and machinery removals at Lambeth.
In 1961 the remaining Pollitzer family decided to sell their interests in the business to the Transport Development Group (TDG) who then took sole ownership.
Under TDG the transport fleet grew both in number and size, thus the heavy haulage fleet was developed. The number of cranes also increased and with the introduction of lorry mounted cranes and fork lift trucks, incorporating Jib attachments, the industrial removals department began the quest for further technical improvement.
This policy continued with investments in more labour saving handling equipment, particularly electric and hydraulic powered gantries.
During the 1970’s and 80’s the Company undertook increasingly larger engineering projects especially within the automotive sector which was quickly growing within the UK.
In 1994 Beck & Pollitzer Engineering Limited returned to independent ownership. This has ensured the continuation of all the Company’s services on a national basis and encouraged its further development as Europe’s most innovative and customer dedicated contractor, capable of competing for business throughout the world.
During the 1990’s and into the new millennium we have continued to grow the business organically, opening additional divisions overseas in places where our clients needed us and increasing the types of projects that we can undertake.
Since 2000 we have refined our business to ensure that we can provide unrivalled machinery solutions for almost every sector and our aim is to continue this growth in line with the needs of our customers and to continually innovate wherever possible.