Nicholls Colton Group | Home | Geotechnical, Environmental, Site Investigation, Structural, In-situ Testing, MCERTS laboratory


We are very proud to announce that we are now celebrating 50 years in business!

It has been a long and remarkable journey. With a current turnover of £5M, 100 staff operating out of two Leicester sites, and with our own contaminated land and physical testing laboratory, Nicholls Colton is thriving, and is very much looking forward to the next 50 years! Why not become a part of our story?

1964 Current Chairman Alex Warwick born
1965 Roy Nicholls and John Colton form Nicholls Colton and Partners.

Rolling Stones ‘I Can’t Get No Satisfaction’ at No. 1

Sir Winston Churchhill dies

First US combat troops arrive in Vietnam

Russian cosmonaut carries out first spacewalk

1966 England win World Cup

First UK credit card introduced
1967 Current CEO Ian Elliot born
1968 Robert Kennedy assassinated
1969 First man on the moon

First Concorde flight

1971 First ever email sent
1973 Move to current premises at Harding Street

Slade’s ‘Merry Christmas Everybody’ hits No.1 in Charts

Construction of M25 commences

Three Day week imposed in UK

Vietnam war ends

Computer mouse first released

Billie Jean King wins Wimbledon
1974 Current staff Neil Birchenough and Alan Oxbrough join firm as Junior Technicians

1975 Microsoft founded

1979 Margaret Thatcher becomes Prime Ministerr
Pink Floyd’s ‘Brick In The Wall’ No.1 in Charts

Ronald Reagan becomes President of USA

Mount St Helens erupts

John Lennon shot dead

1981 Current Director Guy Anderson joins firm as Junior Technician

IBM introduce first personal computer

1982 Falklands War
1983 Keith Spencer appointed as a Partner
1984 Ethiopian Famine and Band Aid
1985 First internet domain name registered

Windows software first released

1986 Ian Elliot joins firm as Junior Technician

M25 completed

Major nuclear accident occurs at Chernobyl

Space Challenger Shuttle explodes at launch

Pet Shop Boys ‘West End Girls’ at No.1

1987 Alex Warwick joins firm as Junior Geotechnical Engineer
1988 Brian Pailing appointed as a Partner

John Colton retires

1989 World Wide Web invented

Fall of Berlin Wall

1991 Freddie Mercury dies
1992 Current Director Nick Hutt joins firm as Geotechnical Engineer

John Colton retires
1995 Channel Tunnel Opens

Company is rebranded leading to formation of NCT and NCG

eBay founded
1996 Company registered as a Limited Company

1997 Death of Princess Diana

First Harry Potter book released

Spice Girls ‘Spice Up Your Life’ at No. 1

1998 Alex Warwick and Ian Elliot appointed as Associate Directors

Google founded

2001 Twin Towers 9/11 attack

2003Iraq Invasion

2004Facebook created

Indian Ocean Boxing Day Tsunami

Band Aid 20 ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’ at No.1

2005 2005: Ian Elliot and Alex Warwick become joint owners and Managing Directors of the firm following retirement of Keith Spencer and Brian Pailing

YouTube founded

London 7/7 bombings
2008 Formation of NCA and Environmental Laboratory

UK Banking Crisis

Barack Obama becomes first black President of USA

Lewis Hamilton becomes Formula 1 World Champion

Google founded
2010 Appointment of Mike Shelbourne as Director of NCA

2011 Major rebrand leads to formation of Nicholls Colton Group and fresh new logo’s

Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami

Amy Winehouse dies


London Olympics

Bradley Wiggins wins Tour de France and Olympic Gold

2014 Guy Anderson and Nick Hutt appointed Directors

2015 New premises purchased at Ratby Lane



Roy Nicholls and John Colton surely never imagined that five decades after they began working out of small cramped premises in central Leicester in 1965, that the business would still be here, let alone would become so successful.

Like any business that has existed for so many years, Nicholls Colton has had its fair share of both good and bad times. The 1980s and 1990s saw significant difficulties and a vastly changing market; and of course the more recent banking crisis of 2008 brought its own unique problems. Despite this, the Company has managed to survive, and in recent years, has even flourished.

Following the retirement of Keith Spencer and Brian Pailing in 2005, Associate Directors Ian Elliot and Alex Warwick took over the firm.  Under their leadership, the business entered an exciting era of growth. The marketing and sales strategy of the firm was modernised; a new laboratory was created so that a contaminated land testing service could be offered; Nicholls Colton Analytical and Nicholls Colton Structural was created; the senior management of the firm was re-structured, and in 2010 the business was re-branded, with fresh new logo’s, a new website and the new ‘Group’ concept.

As ever, the business provides advice to the construction sector – materials testing, physical and chemical soils testing, contaminated land testing, waste testing, bridge and highway testing, site investigation and land contamination studies, and of course, consultancy for all of these.

Today, Ian and Alex run the firm with Directors Mike Shelbourne, Nick Hutt and Guy Anderson. The business continues to thrive and growth continues apace. Nicholls Colton Geotechnical and Nicholls Colton Testing have recently moved into new premises near Leicester Forest East, and the Nicholls Colton Analytical Laboratory is expanding at the premises in Harding Street.

It is of course thanks to our loyal and talented staff that we have thrived and succeeded over the many years that we have been in business, and it is amazing to think that in 1965, so many of today’s staff were not even born! We are proud that many of our staff have been with us throughout their careers – CEO Ian Elliot (29 years), Chairman Alex Warwick (28 years), Director Guy Anderson (34 years), Director Nick Hutt (23 years), Policy Manager Luigi Sorrentino (30 years), Geotechnical Engineer Neil Birchenough (41 years), Laboratory Manager Lee Harbottle (26 years), Buyer Alan Oxbrough (41 years), Account Manager Bharat Amin (25 years), Senior Technician Mohammed Hussein (25 years) and Estimator Martin Krajenski (33 years) having all been here in excess of 20, if not 30 years each!

Trying to imagine quite how long fifty years is, and what a precious milestone this is, is perhaps not that easy. Have a look at our timeline below, and see for yourself just how much things have changed over the years that we have been in business………and ponder on what might happen in the years to come!

We look forward to you being a part of our on-going success story.

Ian Elliot and Alex Warwick July 2015