Motorway Services Online

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Locations:up to 43
Predecessors:BP Express, Esso ROC
Head office address:MRH Retail Customer Services
PO Box 272
TW20 2AR
Phone number:0333 400 4114
Sparkford Esso.
Sparkford petrol station under MRH ownership.

MRH was the largest independent operator of filling stations in the UK. They operated a large number of A-road service areas, as well as the forecourts at several motorway service areas.

MRH was formed after the merger of Malthurst and Pace (Refined Holdings) in October 2004. Their business stepped forward during an era where many fuel brands were stepping back from frontline retailing. They saw themselves as the owner and operator of independent forecourts with a separate fuel distribution business.

MRH were sold to MFG on 21 October 2018.


Q8 and Little Chef.
A Q8 forecourt sign.

Malthurst was a dealer-group operating over 150 forecourts in the UK, and was one of the country's oldest and largest independent petrol retailers. They owned a number of larger service areas, including the former Rainton site.

The Pace brand had a strong heritage in the UK motor fuels market, having originally been developed by the motor industry entrepreneur Victor Gauntlett in the early 1970s. After trading at numerous sites, Pace was sold to the state-owned Kuwait Petroleum group in 1986, who went on to buy up Hays Petroleum Services, Ultramar Golden Eagle and Nafta.

Kuwait Petroleum consolidated to form Kuwait Petroleum (GB) Ltd. KPGB traded under the Q8 brand in its retail business and later as Q8 Fuelcare in its distributor sales business. They continued to operate Pace as a second brand.

Kuwait signalled its intentions to move away from UK retailing, and tried to sell KPGB. It was eventually purchased in October 2004, by Refined Holdings Ltd - a specially-created joint venture between Malthurst and property companies. The company was renamed Pace Petroleum Ltd, and said it would roll out the Pace brand.

At this stage there were around 180 Q8-branded sites, 30 Pace-branded sites, and 70 KPGB-owned sites.


Pace continued to target "rural or semi-rural locations with a shop" as potential sites. An agreement with Mobil allowed their products to be sold in shops, and the name to be used on pole signs, below the Pace sign.

The expansion continued, with 60 Texaco-owned sites purchased in September 2005. Many Pace sites adopted more well-known brand names, but Pace continues to be sold at some quiet forecourts.


Hursts was MRH's own-branded store, which was initially introduced to replace unbranded stores at their filling stations. Hursts enabled MRH to tailor the brand and its in-store offerings to stores which have different sizes and a different clientele. Most Hursts stores included Costa Express and microwaves.

Latterly, a separate brand called Hursts Grab & Go was introduced with most of Hursts' offerings but with more of a focus on food, as well as a selection of food concessions which include Greggs, Subway and Stone Willy's Pizza Kitchen.

MFG have now replaced all Hursts stores with Londis.


MRH operated forecourts at the following signposted service areas: