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Our History

John Menzies | Shop
SINCE 1833

The company was founded in 1833 when John Menzies opened a bookshop on Edinburgh’s Princes Street.

This store began selling The Scotsman newspaper over the counter and Menzies became famous in the UK for retailing and wholesaling.

In 1837, Charles Dickens’ first novel was published in monthly instalments. The publishers, Chapman & Hall, appointed John Menzies as their Scottish agent.

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With the upsurge in rail transport, the business moved to a warehouse on Hanover Street in Edinburgh to better handle wholesale distribution.

In just a few decades, Menzies secured exclusive distribution rights throughout Scotland.

John Menzies, the founder, died in 1879 and the business was taken over by his sons, John and Charles.

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Always at the cutting edge of technology, Menzies purchased our first power driven vehicle in 1910. The distribution fleet was fully motorised within a decade.

Of the hundreds of Menzies’ employees who fought in WWI, one in six did not return home.

During WWII Air Raids in 1941, Menzies’ Partick bookstall and Greenock branch were destroyed.

Colonel Charles T. Menzies died in 1943. His widow, Helen Francis Menzies, was elected as his successor.

John Menzies (Holdings) Ltd. was incorporated in 1960.

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1961 -1999

Microlink - the unique computer system developed by John Menzies Wholesale to help manage distribution – was introduced in 1985.

Within a few short years, Menzies moved into the transport sector by acquiring the Scan International Group, offering a wholesale international overnight courier service to retail courier companies and freight forwarders.

Air Menzies International (AMI) was then formed in with the merger of Scan, Cargosave, and Air Marketing Services Group.

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Following the millennium, Menzies acquired the global airport ground handling operations of Ogden Aviation Services.

Following the acquisition of AJG Parcels, our Inverness depot became the first facility to offer daytime overnight distribution services and parcel sortation and delivery.

In 2017 John Menzies plc announced the acquisition of Aircraft Service International Group (ASIG); a leading independent aviation ground service provider with operations at more than 80 airports worldwide.

In 2018 John Menzies plc announced the proposed acquisition of Airline Services Limited (“Airline Services”), an Aircraft De-icing specialist providing De-icing and Aircraft Presentation services at 12 UK airports to over 60 airlines.

On 26 July 2018, the Board of John Menzies plc announced that it had entered into a conditional agreement to sell the entire issued share capital of Menzies Distribution Limited to investment funds managed by Endless LLP. The Disposal was approved by the Company's shareholders at general meetings held in August 2018 and completed 5 September 2018.

Today we are a pure-play aviation business, operating in over 30 countries and employing over 30,000 members of staff.

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