Michael Abbott
Michael Abbott
Michael Abbott
MJ Abbott's first tractor (1960s)
MJ Abbott's first tractor (1960s)
MJ Abbott's first tractor (1960s)
Muck spreading (early 1970s)
Muck spreading (early 1970s)
Muck spreading (early 1970s)
Combining (1970s)
Combining (1970s)
Combining (1970s)
Hauling grain (1970s)
Hauling grain (1970s)
Hauling grain (1970s)
Silage making (1970s)
Silage making (1970s)
Silage making (1970s)
MJ Abbott's first Yard and Workshop at East Farm, Dinton (1970s)
MJ Abbott's first Yard and Workshop at East Farm, Dinton (1970s)
MJ Abbott's first Yard and Workshop at East Farm, Dinton (1970s)
Barth K140 Trencher (1970s)
Barth K140 Trencher (1970s)
Barth K140 Trencher (1970s)
Barth K140 Trencher installing clay tile drains (1970s)
Barth K140 Trencher installing clay tile drains (1970s)
Barth K140 Trencher installing clay tile drains (1970s)
The disadvantage of clay tiles! (1970s)
The disadvantage of clay tiles! (1970s)
The disadvantage of clay tiles! (1970s)
Moling (1970s)
Moling (1970s)
Moling (1970s)
Big square baling (early 1980s)
Big square baling (early 1980s)
Big square baling (early 1980s)
Hoes Mark V Trencher (early 1980s)
Hoes Mark V Trencher (early 1980s)
Hoes Mark V Trencher (early 1980s)
Hoes 130 Trencher (mid 1980s)
Hoes 130 Trencher (mid 1980s)
Hoes 130 Trencher (mid 1980s)
One of the first sports turf trenchers in the UK (1980s)
One of the first sports turf trenchers in the UK (1980s)
One of the first sports turf trenchers in the UK (1980s)
Mercedes van (1980s)
Mercedes van (1980s)
Mercedes van (1980s)
Michael Abbott at the Farmers Weekly drainage event (1980s)
Michael Abbott at the Farmers Weekly drainage event (1980s)
Michael Abbott at the Farmers Weekly drainage event (1980s)
Hoes 150 Trencher (late 1980s)
Hoes 150 Trencher (late 1980s)
Hoes 150 Trencher (late 1980s)
Silage making (1980s)
Silage making (1980s)
Silage making (1980s)
Poclain 61 Excavator (1980s)
Poclain 61 Excavator (1980s)
Poclain 61 Excavator (1980s)
Case 580G Excavator (late 1980s)
Case 580G Excavator (late 1980s)
Case 580G Excavator (late 1980s)
Euro Disneyland (now Disneyland Paris) Opening Crew (1992)
Euro Disneyland (now Disneyland Paris) Opening Crew (1992)
Euro Disneyland (now Disneyland Paris) Opening Crew (1992)
Installing transfer pipe at Center Parcs Longleat Forest (1993)
Installing transfer pipe at Center Parcs Longleat Forest (1993)
Installing transfer pipe at Center Parcs Longleat Forest (1993)
Wheel trencher (mid 1990s)
Wheel trencher (mid 1990s)
Wheel trencher (mid 1990s)
Aerial view of Dinton Works in late 1990s
Aerial view of Dinton Works in late 1990s
Aerial view of Dinton Works in late 1990s
The management team today
The management team today
The management team today
 

Company history

MJ Abbott Limited has a distinguished history stretching back almost fifty years.

1960s - Humble beginnings

It is now one of the UK’s leading specialist contractors, however MJ Abbott Limited had humble beginnings.

In 1965 Michael John (MJ) Abbott, then working as a tractor driver for an agricultural contractor, decided to set up in business on his own, offering agricultural contracting services to local farmers.

By the turn of the decade Michael, by this time employing five staff and supported by his wife Aslaug who ran the office from home, had secured his own premises comprising a yard and maintenance workshop at East Farm in Dinton, 8 miles to the west of Salisbury in Wiltshire. He expanded the business by continually adding to his fleet of machinery and widening his service offering to his farming customer base.

1970s - Opportunities in land drainage

In the 1970s Michael saw an opportunity to enter the land drainage market, and purchased his first continuous chain trenching machine. This enabled him to take advantage of the grants available to farmers via the Ministry of Agriculture to drain their land in order to improve crop yields.

At that time clay tile drains were used, and these had to be loaded by hand from a trailer onto the drainage machine and inserted into a chute by an operator - this seems very antiquated today, when easy to handle coils of perforated plastic pipe are used.

1980s - A new premises and expansion of the business

In 1980 Michael had the opportunity to develop a new site for his growing business, and moved premises to a green field site at Bratch Lane in Dinton. Drainage, access roads and infrastructure had to be installed before the site could be used, and a workshop facility and office building was constructed.

In the early 1980s a request from Avon County Council to assist with the drainage to one of its sports pitches led to modification of the trenching machines so that they could work on sports turf. Assisted by his engineers, Michael fitted a basic soil-loading conveyor to an agricultural machine and it did the job perfectly. This led to a rapid expansion of the business into sports turf drainage work and subsequent incorporation of the business as MJ Abbott Limited in 1985.

1990s - Entry to the golf market

The early 1990s saw the company’s first forays into the golf market, starting with drainage and irrigation works. In 1995, MJ Abbott was working as a subcontractor on the construction of the new PGA Course at The Belfry when the main golf contractor became insolvent. MJ Abbott had developed a good relationship with the golf course architect and the client, so took on the contract and completed the golf course to everyone’s satisfaction.

Over the next few years the company went on to complete a number of golf construction projects including reconstruction of the Brabazon Course at The Belfry for the 2001 Ryder Cup, works to the Wentwood Hills course at the Celtic Manor Resort for the Wales Open, and construction of the New Course at Burhill Golf Club.

In 1999 the company decided to pull out of the agricultural contracting market and concentrate on golf and sports, using the funds derived from the sale of the contracting machinery to fund a major expansion of its premises at Dinton. By this time MJ Abbott had over 80 employees.

2000s - Growth and expansion into new markets

Through the first decade of the new millennium MJ Abbott worked on a string of high profile golf construction projects including construction of new courses at The Grove, The Twenty Ten Course at the Celtic Manor Resort for the 2010 Ryder Cup, Rockliffe Hall and Close House, and reconstruction of the Torrance Course at Fairmont St Andrews and the iconic West Course at Wentworth.

True to form MJ Abbott continued to grow and evolve, expanding its portfolio to include natural and artifical sports pitch construction, landscaping, and environmental works. The company also extended its expertise in private water supply, water storage, water management, pumping and sewage treatment, and industrial electrical systems. By now the company employed over 100 personnel in a myriad of roles.

As the end of the decade approached, and building on the strong relationships the company had formed over the years with its key suppliers, MJ Abbott was able to launch its direct sales and amenity products sales operations.

2010s and beyond - Continuing success

Over the last five decades MJ Abbott has gone from strength to strength, and now enjoys an enviable reputation in the markets it serves - markets that now encompass the whole of the UK, Ireland, and Western Europe.

The company continues to evolve and adapt in accordance with the requirements of its customers, and has embraced the latest technological advances. Not only can customers read about MJ Abbott on the internet and contact us via email, they can now also buy our products online through our e-commerce web shop. Our irrigation customers can have their systems backed up and controlled remotely so that should their local system fail we can take over and irrigate their facility.

Despite no longer offering agricultural contracting services, MJ Abbott has not forgotten its agricultural roots, and continues to offer a wide range of water engineering and specialised civil engineering services to its farm and estate customer base.

Michael Abbott retired from day-to-day operations in 2005, but still retains an active interest in the business as a consultant to the drainage, water and civil engineering departments.

Our management team will ensure that MJ Abbott Limited continues to evolve over time in response to market demands, and we look forward to meeting our customers' needs for many years to come.

 

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