Following World War 1, fresh produce was imported from the West Indies and the Canary Islands into West India Dock and Canary Wharf in London. The foreman on the bank would call anyone at random to take produce to market by horse and cart. George Littmoden seized this opportunity to set up an enterprise. Acting as a middleman, he negotiated deals with the foreman and assigned jobs to individual drivers, who took fruit and vegetables to Covent Garden and Spitalfields Market by horse and cart. At its early peak, George's business, which he later dubbed GL Baker, owned 100 horse-drawn carts.
The newly formed GL Baker set up an office in Covent Garden and started running mechanical vehicles.
Marks & Spencer gets into the fresh fruit business and negotiates a deal with George Littmoden to transport goods to their stores in London and the Home Counties.
GL Baker bought its own premises in Oare Road, Faversham – where Gist still operates from today – for £2,500. GL Baker established a depot with a warehouse and maintenance bay, and took on extra business from M&S to deliver canned goods, as well as fruit.
Interested by GL Baker’s use of liquid nitrogen in chilled containers, BOC acquires the company and it becomes known as BOC Transhield.
BOC Transhield consists of 1,100 employees and operates from five strategically-located depots in Barnsley, Bristol, Cumbernauld, Faversham and Kirkby. A network was born.
The company opens up a new site in Hemel Hempstead.
The company continues to grow, with the addition of sites in Crewe in 1981 and Thatcham in 1986. The company commences six-day deliveries to M&S and evening deliveries to stores.
Gist commences work with M&S to distribute clothing and general merchandise under the banner of BOC Storeshield.
BOC Transhield merges with BOC Storeshield to become BOC Distribution Services.
European textiles contract moves to Hemel’s International site.
Work begins in the Czech Republic with Ahold, one of the world’s leading retail groups.
After joining the company on the Graduate Scheme, Martin Gwynn is appointed as Chief Executive.
BOC Distribution Services relaunches as Gist Limited. The complete rebrand came with new livery, uniforms and even a move to a new head office in Chineham.
Gist wins new business with Intergreen to transport horticultural products between Holland and the UK.
Gist acquires Van Dongen Holdings BV – a Dutch transport company.
The Linde Group, which consists of Linde and BOC, acquires Gist.
Gist signs a monumental contract with M&S, securing all foods operations including frozen foods and extending into Ireland. This saw the opening of two more Gist sites, with Bedworth taking the frozen stock, and Clonshaugh opening for Irish stores.
Gist’s Child Road Safety programme is launched, with the aim of becoming Gist’s key Corporate Social Responsibility scheme.
Gist’s Dutch companies are merged and moved into a site in Bleiswijk.
Gist Auburn represents Gist’s first site in the USA. The Seattle-based site services Starbucks.
Major investments to the network include new sites opening in Enfield and France, site
extensions in Spalding and Clonshaugh and a complete reconfiguration of Hemel Hempstead.
Sites open in Chesterfield and Motherwell to boost Temperature Controlled Logistics business.
Today, Gist continues to deliver value beyond managing warehouse and transport operations; we develop tailored and flexible supply chains for a number of high-profile customers, including Tesco, Waitrose, Bakkavor, Starbucks, and, some 86 years later, Marks & Spencer.