Our History

Our origins date back to 1884, when brothers Edmund and Augustus Hughes formed London and Tilbury Lighterage Company Limited, which specialised in transferring cargo between vessels.

RM Douglas was founded by Sir Robert Douglas, a construction engineer and Midlands industrialist of Scottish background. RM Douglas was a West Midlands building and civil engineering contractor that also had a formwork and scaffolding business, now known as RMD Kwikform.

In 1991, the two companies merged forming Tilbury Douglas.

1884 – 1960s

The London and Tilbury Lighterage Company Limited was founded in 1884.

RM Douglas was founded in the 1930s by Sir Robert Douglas. Sir Robert Douglas, born February 2, 1899, died December 1996 was a construction engineer and Midlands industrialist of Scottish background.

Douglas started out by sub-contracting to build small stretches of road for local authorities or developers, and in the late 1950s his civil engineering company was one of the first to take advantage of the motorway programme. Over the following 30 years, RM Douglas completed a range of motorway projects including sections of the M1, M40, M42 and M6.

1970 – 2000

RM Douglas is probably best known for two large developments in Birmingham – the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) and the International Convention Centre, incorporating the Symphony Hall.

Sir Robert was chairman of the Douglas Group till 1977 and continued as president after its merger with Tilbury. He remained president until his death.

In 1991 Tilbury Lighterage Company Limited (then known as Tilbury Contracting Group Limited) merged with RM Douglas, forming Tilbury Douglas.

In the 90s, Tilbury Douglas constructed phase two of the Murrayfield rugby union stadium redevelopment scheme in Edinburgh, Scotland and the London Eye among many other projects.

2001 – 2020

In 2001 the group rebranded as Interserve plc, a name change to reflect the shift in focus towards maintenance and facilities management services.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Interserve Construction supported the UK government including building the Birmingham Nightingale hospital at the NEC, a building it had built originally under RM Douglas. 

In November 2020, the group’s FM business was acquired by Mitie Group Plc.

2021 and beyond

Back to Tilbury Douglas.

This is a name with historic significance to many of our staff and customers, but importantly we are now looking to the future and this name will become synonymous with a modern high performing construction business.

Under this new branding we look forward to sharing with you many new and exciting developments, including our journey to Net Zero Carbon, use of Modern Methods of Construction, digital transformation and commitment to long lasting social value.

Our commitment remains to continue delivering best-in-class service to our customers, and we look forward to working with you and your teams in the years ahead.