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  • Final release of historic Laing images celebrate Team Spirit

    Friday August 28, 2020 in News

    Sir Kirby Laing talks to Nursing Sisters at the Topping Out ceremony of St Thomas’ Hospital, 1971

    More amazing images from the John Laing photographic archives are being released by Historic England today and focus on the Company’s people and Team Spirit.

    This marks the end of Breaking New Ground (BNG), a 21-month project to digitise 10,000 images from the John Laing Photographic Collection, now available to view at Breaking New Ground

    Sir John Laing always knew that the Company was only as good as its people. This latest release of images documents the great lengths the Company went to in looking after employees through welfare schemes (which still exist today) plus outings and events for staff and their families.

    The Company would charter whole trains and fleets of coaches to ferry the workforce and their families to mainly seaside destinations. There were also large annual sports day, gala events and dinner dances at which staff and their families could socialise.

    The final release of BNG images also features some of the many charitable activities of the Laing company and its staff. As one of the country’s biggest ever construction concerns, responsible for many of Britain’s landmark buildings, the latest release also features hundreds of opening ceremonies attended by the Royal family and celebrities.

    Celebrities pose in the bucket of a digger at the ground-breaking ceremony for the Sports and Rehab Centre at the National Orthopaedic Centre Stanmore in Essex

    There are also images of various marketing sponsorships, including sportspeople and even an 80s boy band.

    The BNG project has left an important legacy with a national engagement programme bringing ex-Laing workers into schools so pupils could ask them directly about the local buildings they worked on that the youngsters were learning about. The programme has also resulted in new, free education resources for teachers to access online.

    As well a number of short films featuring some of the educational outreach and Laing retirees, there is another film called Building Britain in which former employees talk about their time with the Company and some of  the iconic building projects they worked on. The project also created jobs and apprenticeships.

    The John Laing Charitable Trust co-sponsored the project in partnership with Historic England, who now hold and maintain the full John Laing Collection which includes more than 230,000 images in total.


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