Constantine Group

Overview

Our History

We are proud that Constantine has been a family owned business since 1885. Here we look back at our 130 year history…

1885

Joseph Constantine invests in his first ship “Homewood”, a three masted timber sailing barque, the start of a shipping fleet.

Joseph Constantine

Joseph Constantine

Homewood

Homewood

1914-18

At the outbreak of WWI in 1914, the Constantine fleet of 28 comprised 22 ocean-going steamers and 6 coastal vessels. During WWI, 13 ships and 32 crew members were lost to enemy action.

Earlswood

Earlswood

Kirnwood

Kirnwood

1922

Joseph Constantine dies and is succeeded by his two sons, Robert and William.

Goodwood launch

Goodwood launch

R A Constantine & W W Constantine

R A Constantine & W W Constantine

1930

Constantine Technical College in Middlesbrough is officially opened by the Prince of Wales (the future Edward VIII) on 2nd July 1930. In 1969, the college became a polytechnic then, in 1992, became Teesside University.

Constantine Technical College opening ceremony

Constantine Technical College opening ceremony

College exterior

College exterior

1930’s

The story of the company between 1922 and 1939 was one of consolidation, innovation and rebuilding the fleet. Great care was taken to employ the most up to date technology and design elements in the new vessels.
In 1936, the Windsorwood, built for the Constantine Shipping Co., was the first ship in Britain built with the cutting edge ‘Maierform bow’.

Windsorwood

Windsorwood

Part of the Constantine fleet

Part of the Constantine fleet

1939-1945

At the outbreak of WW2, the Constantine fleet of 18 ships comprised 9 deep-sea ships and 9 coastal ships.
7 deep-sea and 4 coastal vessels were lost. Included in these losses were the torpedoing of the magnificent Balmoralwood and 11 days later her sister ship the Windsorwood in the same North Atlantic waters.

1942 Maplewood

1942 Maplewood

Gun practice

Gun practice

1947

After WW2 the company restricted the size of new orders to vessels of around 3,000 tons.
Constantine & Co is formed as the parent company for the group’s diversified shipping agency businesses (shipbroking, liner agency, port agency, wharfage, cargo agency, passenger agency, forwarding) with 10 regional offices in the UK

Teeswood in the Port of London

Teeswood in the Port of London

Evan Cook

Evan Cook

1950’s

The company was evolving into three increasingly distinct areas of operation: ships, shipping services and property.
The property division, started in 1929, grows rapidly with the development of apartment blocks in London.

St James's Close

St James's Close

1960

Launched in 1960 the Eastwood is the last ship to be built for the Constantine Shipping Co.
Robert and William Constantine retire. Robert Constantine’s sons, Norman and Joe, become Chairman and Chief Executive.
In the mid 1960’s with the advent of containerisation, the entire fleet is sold.

Eastwood launch

Eastwood launch

Lochwood

Lochwood

1969

Connells Estate Agents is acquired, with 10 branches. In 1984, Connells was listed on the London Stock Exchange. By the time Constantine sold its interest in 1991, Connells had 130 branches. To this day, it remains the largest chain of estate agents in the UK.

1971

The company’s property interests expand into Canada and the USA. In 1971, the profits from these successful property developments were reinvested in a 100,000 acre cattle ranch in the Cariboo managed by Red Allison.

1970 and 1980’s

Constantine concentrates on two activities: Property Investment, Development and Agency in the UK and Canada; and International Shipping Services (principally export packing and forwarding).

Constantine Property team

Constantine Property team

Packing for export

Packing for export

1990’s

In 1991 John Simson becomes Chairman and Chief Executive. In 1996, he is succeeded as Chief Executive by Nigel Constantine.

John Simson

John Simson

Nigel Constantine

Nigel Constantine

1994

Constantine acquires Elddis, the motorhome and caravan manufacturer.

In February 2017, after 23 years of ownership by Constantine Group, The Explorer Group was sold to Erwin Hymer Group, Europe’s largest manufacturer of motorhomes and caravans.

2000’s

In 2006 Alan McWalter, at the time Marketing Director of Marks & Spencer plc, becomes Chairman and in 2008 Nigel Prescot becomes Chief Executive.

Alan McWalter

Alan McWalter

Nigel Prescot

Nigel Prescot

2005

Constantine expands its logistics interests. To Constantine Limited, its existing Fine Art logistics business, it adds Peters & May (yachts), Simtex International (hazardous cargo) and CEC (couriers).

Constantine Limited: Moving an outsize painting from Battle Abbey

Constantine Limited: Moving an outsize painting from Battle Abbey

Peters & May

Peters & May

2010

Constantine Energy is formed and acquires a stake in TGC Renewables, a developer of solar sites in the UK.

2010

The company celebrates 125 years of continuous family ownership.

Directors past and present

Directors past and present

Celebrating 125 years

Celebrating 125 years

2011

Constantine Limited is awarded the Royal Warrant from HM The Queen.

2011

Constantine Wind Energy, a developer and installer of onshore wind turbines, is set up as a joint venture with Jemm Capital.

2015

The company reports record profits in its 130th year.

Learn more about the Constantine Group history…

Download “The Constantine Group 1885 – 2010” by Roland Vernon. Produced in celebration of the company’s 125th Anniversary

> Download PDF

A DISTINCTIVE APPROACH…

Constantine Group currently has investments in four sectors: logistics, manufacturing, property and renewable energy.

Based in the UK, the company’s activities are worldwide, with offices in the United States, Europe and Asia.

We are an expanding business, constantly looking for new opportunities to invest in sectors where we can add value and can see potential for growth.