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Tarmac celebrate 120 years as part of the fabric of everyday life

Tarmac Sentinel steam-powered truck, circa 1930s
Tarmac Sentinel steam-powered truck, circa 1930s

From the first ‘sticky’ road and the D-Day landings to low-carbon asphalt and electric vehicles

TO commemorate 120 years since Tarmac’s founder Edgar Hooley first perfected how to make road surfaces stick, the company’s illustrious history and its work on iconic infrastructure and construction projects is being marked with a special ‘through the years’ showcase hosted across the business’ social media channels.

Originally founded as the Tarmacadam Patent Syndicate Ltd in 1903, Tarmac quickly became synonymous with roads and supported the national effort in both the first and second world wars, where they helped prepare for the D-Day landings, before building the UK’s very first motorway, the Preston Bypass, in 1958.


The business diversified into construction in the 1920s and has since been involved with some of the UK’s most complex and iconic projects, including Wembley Stadium, Heathrow Terminal 5, The Shard, London 2012, and Silverstone resurfacing.

Now, as the company celebrates its 120th anniversary, its team of around 6,000 people is focused on creating the next generation of innovative, sustainable construction materials to support net zero and tackle climate change. It is also ensuring the land the business works on continues to be operated efficiently before being restored and regenerated, creating a positive, lasting legacy.

Tarmac were first to pioneer and launch warm-mix asphalt in 2014, which reduces carbon emissions and can be laid quicker to reduce roadworks for the travelling public. As part of their transition to net zero, they also became the first company to purchase and operate a battery electric concrete truckmixer, and currently transport millions of tonnes of materials across the UK by rail freight each year.

Celebrating the 120-year milestone, Bevan Browne, managing director of UK Materials at Tarmac, said: ‘From the day that Edgar Hooley first patented Tarmac, our business has been synonymous with innovation and part of the fabric of everyday life. Hooley’s innovative spirit is embedded at the heart of our business and we’re constantly identifying ways of delivering construction and infrastructure for a net-zero world.

‘While our business is constantly looking forward, we’re incredibly proud of our British heritage, so it’s fitting that we celebrate the achievements of our current and former colleagues as well as the great work with clients and partners, past and present.’

Tarmac will be sharing memories from the business’ rich history from today (Monday 25 September) and for the next few weeks across their various social media channels and website. Activity will include stories from colleagues past and present, including some of Tarmac’s longest servers and employees with a Tarmac family tree, along with photos of key milestones and from sites over the years. 


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