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Our Heritage

Marshall of Cambridge - Founded in 1909

undefinedMarshall of Cambridge was started by David Marshall on 1st October 1909 in a stable in Brunswick Gardens, Cambridge. He provided chauffeur-hire transport for wealthy dons and undergraduates, who were mainly patrons of the University Pitt Club, of which he was a steward. From this evolved the garage business that is today Marshall Motor Group, which sold its first car in 1914.

In 1912, Marshall mechanics assisted with repairs to an Army airship which had made an emergency landing behind the Marshall garage. This was the company's first recorded contact with aviation.

During the 1914-18 War, David Marshall was appointed to organise the catering at the Woolwich Arsenal, where he had to provide over 56,000 meals a day for munitions workers. It was during the course of this work, for which he was later awarded the MBE, that he was asked by the Ministry of Food to advise on canteen arrangements for the Austin Factory at Longbridge. This brought him into contact with Herbert Austin and the Austin Motor Company. A distributorship for Austin Cars was awarded in 1920 and this was the foundation of the company's current retail motor group.

After gaining his flying licence at Norwich, David Marshall's son, Arthur, established the first Cambridge Aerodrome in 1929. He was made a Master Instructor by the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators in 1931. The expansion of the Marshall Aviation business led to the purchase of land just outside Cambridge in 1935, on which the present Cambridge Airport was developed. During the course of the Second World War, Marshall trained over 20,000 pilots and repaired over 5,000 aircraft.

Sir Arthur Marshall was awarded an OBE for his contribution to the war effort.

Marshall established a vehicle body-building division, which grew to become a substantial supplier to the Ministry of Defence and is now Marshall Land Systems. Marshall has supplied the Ministry of Defence with more than 80,000 vehicle bodies, as well as 9,500 DROPS Flatracks for the British Army. Other products made by Marshall have included Power Pack repair facilities and expandable shelters for a range of uses, which include mobile hospitals. In 1953, the company opened an Aircraft Design Office. Marshall has carried out significant work for Vickers on the early Valiant Bomber; designing and building in 1967, the complex droop nose and retracting visor for Concorde; and, in the late 1970's, designing and building a medical research sled for use on the space shuttle Challenger, which flew 121 earth orbits in 1985. In 1966, Marshall was appointed as the first Lockheed C-130 Hercules Service Centre in the world and has supported the Royal Air Force's fleet of C-130 aircraft on an unbroken basis since that date.

Sir Michael Marshall was honoured with a CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours list in 1999. Her Majesty The Queen, accompanied by His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh, visited the Marshall Group on the 19th November 2009. Sir Michael was knighted in the 2010 New Year Honours list. Commenting on the Knighthood, Sir Michael said: "I am absolutely thrilled. It is an amazing fairytale ending to our fantastic centennial year."In 2012, Robert Marshall took over from his father perpetuating the family lineage.

April 2015 saw the creation of Marshall Motor Holdings Plc. The company aims to achieve strategic growth and be the UK's premier automotive retail and leasing group. To this aim, it now has an annual turnover in excess of £1 billion, is the only major motor group to include all leading prestige and volume brands within the 22 franchises it represents and can be found at 70+ dealership locations across the country.

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