Montgomery is a family business, and our story dates back over 100 years.
In 1895, a young gentleman by the name of Greville Montgomery set up the first specialised building fair in London, called The Building Trades Exhibition. The fair was a resounding success, and sowed the seeds for the global Montgomery brand you see today. Over time, The Building Trade’s Exhibition became The International Building Exhibition, and later Interbuild, which, in 1977, filled every hall at Birmingham's newly opened NEC. Clearly Montgomery was onto something.
On Greville’s retirement in 1947, the business was passed to his son, Hugh, and subsequently his wife, Molly. A well-travelled and internationally minded lady, Molly began to expand the business abroad, and at the same time attract an increasing number of overseas visitors and exhibitors to UK shores. Together with her son, Bryan, they took groups of British exhibitors to building shows in Europe, then the rest of the world. In 1967, they founded Specialised Exhibitions (Pty) Ltd in South Africa – now the biggest trade fair organiser in the country.
Economies in Asia and the Gulf had begun to take off, so Montgomery used its expertise to pioneer exhibitions in territories such as Bahrain, Singapore and Malaysia. The shows boosted growth, and helped establish these areas as modern business destinations with exhibition cultures in their own right.
The consultancy arm of Montgomery was set up in 1974, when Bryan Montgomery formed Exhibition Consultants Ltd (ECL) to work with governments, developers and UN departments. He established the International Fair of Khartoum in 1978, the management services for the first Lagos International Fair in 1977, and the operations and marketing services for the Liverpool International Garden Festival in 1984 – the largest public event in the UK since the 1951 Festival of Britain. The festival attracted 3.4 million people – more per day than the Millennium Dome in 2000. In the UK, the first International Food Exhibition (IFE) was launched in 1979, and Irish Exhibition Services Ltd in the 1980s.
In the 1990s, the company restructured to consolidate UK and European exhibition organising, and the parent company was rebranded Andry Montgomery Ltd (AML). In the last decade, AML has established new operations in Europe, Africa , Asia and the Middle East and more recently launched prestigious events such as the Hong Kong Art Fair (Art HK) and Sony World Photography Awards in London. AML also set up Montgomery Africa (Pty) Ltd in South Africa, to handle new joint venture opportunities across the continent.
In 2008, Bryan Montgomery passed away, aged 80. Over the course of his lifetime, he served as chairman and director of Montgomery, as well as president of UFI (the Union of International Fairs) and chairman of the AEO (Association of Exhibition Organisers). His successor, Sandy Angus – the current chairman of Montgomery – has also held these positions, as well as being elected president of the IAEE (International Association of Exhibitions and Events). The fifth generation of this family business now rests under the holding company name of Angus Montgomery Ltd.