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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.

    Pension Fund Trustees’ fond farewell to newest retiree

    Thursday August 27, 2020 in News

    The Trustees would like to inform the members of the John Laing Pension Fund and the John Laing Pension Plan that the Pensions and Payroll Manager, Phil Wilson, is retiring from 31 August 2020.
    We would like to take this opportunity to thank Phil for over 30 years’ dedicated service to John Laing, having joined in 1988. Acting as the Pensions and Payroll Manager since 2005, Phil has played an important role in the delivery of the administration services to members. We are sure that many of you know Phil and will join us in wishing him a happy and healthy retirement.
    The Trustees are giving careful consideration to the future Fund’s and Plan’s administration services and Phil has kindly offered his assistance in that process. We expect that these decisions will be taken over the coming months and we will continue to provide updates at the appropriate times. For the time being, please continue to contact Alex Crawford at John Laing with any queries or requests.
    Michael Clare, Chair of Trustees

    JLCT COVID-19 Reassurance Message

    Thursday April 9, 2020 in News

    The Covid-19 pandemic has created great uncertainties and disruptions. The John Laing Charitable Trust has been considering how best to respond to situations as they evolve.

    Welfare beneficiaries:  We appreciate it is important for you to understand how you can navigate through the challenges and financial pressures.   We want to reassure you that we will continue to support you through this period.  Our Welfare Officers are in touch with many pensioners although they are mainly doing this now by phone, we are offering assistance in the normal way.

    Retirement Clubs:  We are also maintaining financial support of the John Laing Retirement Clubs.   Please contact the committee members of the respective Clubs to find out how their plans and activities have been affected and the changes they are implementing.

    Grant making:  We understand the Covid-19 will impact the charities and projects we fund.  Events may be cancelled or there may be difficulties in meeting the outcomes of our grant or deliver the programmes as planned.   We want to reassure our charity partners that we offer flexibility and we would like to hear how the virus is impacting the work we are funding as well the wider impact on their organisation.   We are committed to providing support during this challenging time and have signed the Funder Statement of Covid-19 to:

    • Adapting activities – we recognise that you may experience difficulties achieving some of the outputs or outcomes we agreed for your grant during the outbreak, and would like to be able to maintain our grant payments to you at originally-agreed levels during this period, so please have a conversation with us if you are affected in this way;
    • Discussing dates – we don’t want to add pressure, so if you think you will struggle to meet a reporting deadline please get in touch with us so that we can agree a more realistic time for you to get things to us wherever possible;
    • Financial flexibility – we know you may need to use your funding to help cover sickness, purchase equipment, or deliver services differently, and we will be reasonable if you need to move money between budget headings to ensure your work can continue; and
    • Listening to you – we are here if you want to talk to us about the situation you’re facing, but we’ll wait for you to call us so that these conversations are at the right time for you.

    We are also considering co-ordinating collective support with other funders and sector leaders.

    Staff and Operations:  All our staff are now working from home and available by phone or email.  Post are collected from the Mill Hill office once a week.  In order to reduce unnecessary journeys, we will make payments electronically and communicate mainly by phone or email.

    Contact phone numbers:

    General Office: 020 7901 3231

    Welfare:  020 8959 9683

    Club Liaison:  020 7901 3429

    John Laing photos generate massive interest

    Thursday January 23, 2020 in News

    THE massive amount of interest in the historic John Laing photos recently released as part of the Breaking New Ground project has led to requests from media outlets to speak with some of the people featured in them.

    The John Laing Charitable Trust’s project partner Historic England has received requests from newspaper and TV outlets to speak with former employees featured in the images.

    Since the release of 2,000 pictures from the archives on January 13, newspapers and TV outlets across the country have been publishing the images. Another 8,000 are due to be released by the end of the project this summer.

    They cover the period between the Second World War and the end of the Century. Alongside some of the country’s most iconic construction projects, such as The CIS Tower in Manchester, The Barbican, M6, M1, Birmingham Airport and Second Severn Crossing, the images show how the Company looked after its people.

    There are images of Company outings to the seaside, sports days, events plus examples of the welfare and social support provided.

    It has also led to a large number of enquiries from members of the public ranging from those who used to work for the Company to their children and grandchildren, who knew of John Laing from the stories that their parents or grandparents told. The daughter of Company photographer John Sulman got in touch to say how happy he would have been that these images are being made available.

    If you are featured in any of the images, or know anyone whose family members are featured and would not mind being interviewed, please contact Alex Finkenrath at alex.finkenrath@laing.com or call 020 7901 3429.

    This picture from 1962 features new apprentice Ian Blackett with Foreman Bricklayer Harry Varah.

    Historic John Laing images released

    Monday January 13, 2020 in News

    MANY of John Laing Construction’s major UK projects were featured throughout the national press with the official launch of the Breaking New Ground project on January 13, 2020.

    The John Laing Charitable Trust (JLCT) in partnership with Historic England (HE) have released 2,000 images from the John Laing Photographic Collection taken between the end of World War II and the end of the century.

    These are available to view at: https://historicengland.org.uk/images-books/archive/new/breaking-new-ground-project/

    Iconic projects including the Second Severn Crossing, The Barbican, Coventry Cathedral, M1 and M6 are featured alongside some of the tens of thousands of Easiform houses. They show the scope and scale of the contracts. Pictured right is Stonemason Ted Drinkwater at work on Carlisle Cathedral.

    Many of these captured the imagination of the nation. Building most of the first sections of the M1 marked the dawning of the motorway era in the UK. Berkeley Power Station was one of the first full scale commercial nuclear facilities in the world. It was built around the same time as Coventry Cathedral and the two projects were often referred to as The Power and The Glory.

    A total of 10,000 images will be released as part of the 21-month project covering various sectors of construction and also the care the Company took of its employees.

    There will be images illustrating the annual outings on which the thousands of staff were taken. These required the Company to charter whole trains and fleets of coaches.

    The Company also has a film archive which is held by the British Film Institute (BFI).

    Breaking New Ground (BNG)

    Wednesday September 4, 2019 in News

    This major legacy partnership between the John Laing Charitable Trust (JLCT) and Historic England (HE) will see a host of Company archive materials used to provide education and research materials for the nation.

    The project, due to launch in November, will also bring generations together through an outreach programme in schools and provide jobs and training.

    At the heart of the project is the John Laing Photographic  Collection. Experts at HE are selecting and scanning in 10,000 images which demonstrate John Laing’s part in rebuilding this country after World War II.

    The images provide an insight into the architectural, social and technological changes in England during half a century through the prism of reconstruction.

    Retirees’ memories boost national project

    Wednesday September 4, 2019 in News

    The recollections and memories of John Laing retirees will feature strongly Breaking New Ground (BNG) project.

    As well as going into selected schools to answer questions from pupils studying some of the key John Laing constructions projects in the local area, former employees’ recollections will be captured on film for posterity.

    If you are interested in sharing your memories of working for John Laing, please contact the project team at: www.historicengland.org.uk/breakingnewground, or telephone the Trust office on 020 7901 3429.

    Laing generations

    Wednesday September 4, 2019 in News

    This is the moment that John Laing pensioner Jack McDowall (106) met Sir John Laing’s great, great granddaughter Caia Laing (ten weeks) at the Cumbria retirees’ summer luncheon.

    Between them, they cover more than a century of Laing history connections.

    Caia’s father Stewart Laing was attending the luncheon in his capacity as a Vice President of the John Laing retirement clubs, he is also a Trustee of the JLCT.

    Jack retired in 1978 after 26 years’ service with the Company in Cumbria where he was a General Foreman.