A Portrait of Achievement

Historical Projects, 1946-1970

From iron and steelworks to power stations and motorways, we played our part in helping rebuild Britain's industrial strength after the Second World War.

  • Opencast Coal Production, 1943–1956

    The additional tonnage the opencast method of mining produced was vital to a postwar economy faced with the added burden of an international coal shortage. In total, the company was responsible for the production of 15 million tonnes of opencast coal from sites around the UK.

    The massive excavators which were needed to produce the quantities of coal required were imported from America. One of the excavators is pictured, working at the Jubilee site in Leicestershire.

  • Bankside Power Station, London 1948–1952

    More familiar today as the home of Tate Modern, Bankside was the first power station in the UK to be designed specifically for oilfired boilers. Some 700,000 bricks and 29km of scaffold tube were used in the construction of the building’s 91m high central chimney. The project also involved the excavation of a cable tunnel as shown in the photograph below.

  • Cutty Sark Dry Dock, London 1954

    First launched in 1869, the world’s most famous tea clipper stands today within an 81m long, 18m wide dry dock at Greenwich. The veteran ship was floated into its final resting place along a channel cut from the dock to the Thames.

    The company returned to Greenwich in 1968 to construct a dry dock for the Gypsy Moth IV, the yacht on which Sir Francis Chichester completed his record breaking solo voyage round the world.

  • Shell Centre, London 1957–1962

    Hailed by The Times as a ‘colossus on the London skyline’, when it was completed in 1962 the Shell Centre on the South Bank was the largest office development in the UK. Capable of housing 5,000 staff, the building provides 186,000m² of floor space in two complexes divided by the Hungerford railway bridge but linked by a series of passenger and service subways. Half the volume of the building is below ground, while a main 27‑storey tower rises more than 100m above pavement level.

  • Stag Development, London 1960–1963

    Featuring one of the first skyscrapers to grace the London skyline, this huge development was constructed on a fiveacre site close to Victoria station. Comprising four blocks built around a central piazza, the development took its name from the Watney’s Stag Brewery which previously stood on the site. 

  • Brynglas Tunnels, Newport 1962–1967

    Carrying the M4 through the saddlebacked Brynglas Hill, these two 335m long tunnels were among the first in the British motorway network. Such poor ground was encountered during their construction that special tunnelling shields had to be developed.

  • Cockenzie Power Station, East Lothian 1963–1967

    The company was involved in the delivery of a number of the major electricity generating plants constructed in the second half of the 20th century. Foundation works at Cockenzie power station on the Firth of Forth included the placement of 153,000m³ of concrete. Further along the estuary near Kincardine, some 38,000m³ of bedrock was blasted and removed as part of a 115,000m³ excavation undertaken during construction of Longannet power station.

  • M1 Motorway, Markfield–Sawley, Leicestershire 1963–1967

    As the UK roads network expanded and improved through the 1960s, major highways projects undertaken included the delivery of a 12½ mile section of the M1 between Markfield and Sawley in Leicestershire. The project involved the construction of dual threelane carriageways, twoway junctions at Shepshed and Kegworth, and 21 road bridges. Other notable road projects delivered during this period included the threelevel Gabalfa Interchange in Cardiff, and the 4km Shoreham Bypass, which involved construction of a 576m viaduct across the River Adur.

Our Portrait of Achievement

  1. Glenfinnan Viaduct in the winter

    Historical Projects, 1869-1919

    07 Jan 1900

    From a mine chimney in 1869 to construction during the Great War, we have been building Britain's future heritage from our very first project.

    Read more about Historical Projects, 1869-1919
  2. Mulbery Harbour

    Historical Projects, 1919-1945

    06 Jan 1900

    From Wembley Stadium and The British Empire Exhibition to supporting the D-Day landings in Normandy, engineering excellence is at the heart of everything we do.

    Read more about Historical Projects, 1919-1945
  3. O2 Arena on River Thames

    Historical Projects, 1972-1999

    04 Jan 1900

    From Sellafield to Canary Wharf, Hampden Park to the Millennium Dome, our projects changed landscapes across the length and breadth of Britain.

    Read more about Historical Projects, 1972-1999
  4. imperial war museum

    Historical Projects, 2000-2008

    03 Jan 1900

    From the Eden Project to the Emirates Stadium we overcome complex construction challenges to delivered some of the most Britain's iconic landmarks.

    Read more about Historical Projects, 2000-2008
  5. Marischal College

    Historical Projects, 2009-2013

    02 Jan 1900

    From the London Olympic Stadium to the M74 Completion in Glasgow, we played a significant role in shaping communities through infrastructure, leisure, and education projects.

    Read more about Historical Projects, 2009-2013
  6. Victoria Gate Leeds

    Historical Projects, 2014-2016

    01 Jan 1900

    From education institutions to mixed-used retail and entertainment complexes, and the New London Embassy, we proudly building Britain's future heritage.

    Read more about Historical Projects, 2014-2016