Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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John William Laing

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Sir John William Laing CBE (1879–1978), contractor; head of John Laing and Son

1879 Born in Cackle, Cumberland, son of John Laing, builder and contractor, and his wife Sarah[1]

1895 Started work for his father's building business

Introduced a precise system of costing which improved the accuracy of tendering by the business

1910 Married Beatrice Harland in Stockton

1911 John Laing 68, retired builder, was living in Carlisle with Sarah Laing 66; also in the house were his son John William Laing 31, builder, and daughter Sarah Pane Laing 24 and grandson John Laing Mewton 5[2]

1914 Took full control of the business

1916 Birth of son William Kirby Laing

1918 Birth of son John Maurice Laing

1922 Established a trust fund to support missionaries

1926 Moved the headquarter of the business from Carlisle to Mill Hill, London

1934 Pioneered a contributory Holidays-with-Pay scheme which was later reflected in the building industry-wide scheme.

1939 John W Laing 60, Chairman, Director of Aerodrome Building Contractors, lived in Hendon with John M Laing 21, Draughtsman and Joint Managing Director of Aerodrome Building Contractors and Beatrice Laing 54 and Hilda V. Richards (later Laing), 20[3]

1953 Chairman of John Laing and Son (Holdings) when it was listed on the Stock Exchange; the Laing family and associated trusts owned a majority of the shares.

1957 Retired from the construction business

1959 Became President of the London Bible College which he had first proposed before WWII

1978 Died in London[4]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. 1881 census
  2. 1911 census
  3. 1939 register
  4. National probate calendar
  • The Times Jan. 12, 1978