Established in 1867, with a wealth of experience in construction.

Thomas Bow City Asphalt brings together two brands in Thomas Bow and City Asphalt, recognised specialist contractors in Civil Engineering and Surfacing.

When Lawrence Bow set up his company in 1867, it is unlikely that he envisaged the family name continuing in the trade as far ahead as the 21st century, but from small beginnings Thomas Bow developed into one of Nottingham’s major Building & Civil Engineering contractors. The firm completed many landmark buildings and superior residential properties in and around the city including Wilford Power Station, the Raleigh Factory and Barclays Bank (Market Square, Nottingham).

Throughout this time Thomas Bow had remained a family firm and today some six generations later it has evolved into a limited company headed by Alistair Bow, who coaxed his father out of retirement to work within the company. Alistair and his fellow-directors Alex Gardner and John Allen, have between them a broad range of expertise and all recognise that whatever else has altered in the construction and civil engineering industry over the years, the need for good quality workmanship has always been constant.

From 2002, the company’s focus was very much aimed at the provision of Civil Engineering services to the Public and Commercial sectors until 2005, when Thomas Bow joined forces with City Asphalt Ltd. Working closely together as sister companies, they have been able to provide their clients with a more comprehensive in-house Civil Engineering and Surfacing package. Moving forward the two companies continued to develop many long term partnerships with Local Authorities across the UK, which included the securing of numerous long term and Framework Contracts for the provision of Highways Maintenance and Repairs.

Both companies have become very strong brands in their own right and in August 2010, following five years of combined working as an integrated unit, it was decided that the timing was now right to re-brand the two companies and demonstrate to our clients and workforce that we are one joint operation and from this the Thomas Bow City Asphalt Group was born. In joining forces, the two companies have now become a major player in the Highways Maintenance arena.

Benefiting from an array of accreditations and affiliations the Thomas Bow City Asphalt Group are members of CECA and Constructionline, as well as have achieving BS EN ISO 9001:2015, BS EN ISO 14001:2015, ISO45001:2018 and NHSS Sector 16 Accreditation. Whilst the latter is not yet compulsory, this accreditation means that all works are completed to this same high standard regardless of size and location.

With a comprehensive Health & Safety policy, they have achieved full accreditation with CHAS as Principal Contractors.

Committed to the training and continual professional development of their teams, the companies are members of the CITB and Construction Skills, and as Equal Opportunities employers they frequently work in partnership with local authorities in the development of apprenticeships and training programmes.

Our People

Our business is made on lasting relationships with great people! All of our clients are championed by a member of our senior management team ensuring they receive a high level of service.


Alistair Bow

Managing Director

Alistair Bow

Managing Director

Alistair started in Nottinghamshire as an apprentice bricklayer on housing projects for Standen Construction, and on completion moved to Thomas Bow (Contractors) to work on housing and construction sites as Site Foreman, gaining promotion to Project Manager

He went to Ropave Construction in 1991 and on becoming General Manager was instrumental in expanding the business to include contracts up to £2m in value.

In 1996 he moved to Bardon Aggregates as New Business Development Manager, becoming Regional Construction Manager, and subsequently General Manager of Bardon Construction. Alistair developed the business, and was responsible for Airfield term maintenance and other highway & public realm contracts, Health & Safety, and Quality Assurance. After Bardon (England) plc merged with Camas in 1997 his role encompassed management of all the company’s Civil Engineering in the UK. Additionally he became General Manager of the Midlands Urban Asphalt Plants in 2000 with responsibility for commercial and operational activities of the £15m turnover business.

Alistair was also a director of two associated companies Landrec Ltd (Remediation) and Granville Steel plc (Contracting).

In July 2002 he became Managing Director of Thomas Bow Ltd and swiftly extended the business, acquiring a major shareholding of Surfacing company City Asphalt Ltd in 2005. He decided that they could operate more effectively and competitively within a group structure and this strategy has enabled Thomas Bow City Asphalt to operate not only in the Midlands, but in Yorkshire, Staffordshire, Bedfordshire and East Anglia. He set up Ashbow Estates in 2006 and added new company I D Construction Ltd in 2009.


John Allen

Major Projects & Compliance Director

John Allen

Major Projects & Compliance Director

John started his career working for Hughes Construction. With qualifications and experience in the building industry he was employed as a working foreman in the housing, commercial and refurbishment sector for clients in the East Midlands and London areas.

In 1990 he became self employed and successfully carried out a wide variety of small building and civil engineering projects for large contractors.

Three years later John joined Ropave Construction as Site Agent, further developing his skills and experience in contract management This work encompassed a bias towards civil engineering contracts for local authorities, The Highways Agency, and private industrial clients.

In January 1997, John moved to Bardon (England) Plc, to work as a Site Agent/Engineer and help to develop a new Civil Engineering and Construction Division. He managed minor road widening and public realm schemes for local authorities, The Highways Agency and the private sector, gaining experience of working on trunk roads and motorways. After his promotion to Construction Works Manager, John expanded the client base to include Weetabix, The Forestry Commission and HSBC Bank, managing multiple contracts from London to Scotland.

In October 2002 John joined Thomas Bow City Asphalt as Contracts Director. Subsequently he also assumed the role of Health, Safety and Training Director and since spring 2010 he has also been Major Project and Compliance Director for all associated companies.

John’s knowledge of major civil engineering scheme has seen him manage large schemes for clients including major airports such as Birmingham Airport and East Midlands Airport; large public realm schemes for Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire County Councils and multi-million pound section 278 schemes across the midlands.

Johns now works closely with regular clients to define schemes at the concept stage, sharing knowledge on buildability and products available in the market to help clients optimise schemes.


Alex Gardner

Surfacing Director

Alex Gardner

Surfacing Director

Alex started his career in Nottingham studying graphic design, which led to his completion of a higher diploma at Cleveland College in Teeside.

Upon completion of his studies, Alex moved back to Nottingham and in 1993 he joined the family business City Asphalt Limited as a trainee paver operator.

Alex spent the next few years learning all aspects of the business from operations to financial accounting and in 1997 Alex set up City Asphalt Pavers Limited, which complimented the core business by supplying paving machines with operators for hire.

In 2000 Alex was made a Director of City Asphalt Limited, where he gradually took over the control of the business. In 2001, Bob Gardner, founder and Managing Director of City Asphalt Limited retired allowing Alex to continue running the business for a further four years until 2005 when the Company joined forces with Thomas Bow Limited.

Today, Alex is responsible for the Surfacing division of the combined Thomas Bow City Asphalt, where he manages all surfacing projects for a wide variety of Clients ranging from Local Authorities, NHS Trusts, major house builders and other commercial clients.