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British Industrial History

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Lucas Brothers

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1867. Alexandra Palace, Muswell Hill - John Kelk and Lucas Brothers.

Lucas Brothers was a leading British building business based in London.

The business was founded by Charles Thomas Lucas and Thomas Lucas. They were the sons of James Lucas (1792-1865), a builder, of St Pancras, London. Charles joined his father's business: he was soon employed to manage construction of the Norwich and Brandon Railway for Samuel Morton Peto.

In 1842 Charles set up his own contracting business in Norwich and progressed to rebuilding Peto's house, Somerleyton Hall.

Charles and Thomas established a facility in Lowestoft from where they undertook various works, including the railway, the station, the Esplanade, St John’s church and several hotels.

At their works in Lowestoft the brothers pre-fabricated huts for the navvies who built the Crimea railway. Their centre of operations then moved to London where they built various public buildings.

Their most famous buildings include:

  • 1851 Cliveden House
  • 1858 Covent Garden Opera House
  • 1858 Henham Hall
  • 1860 Floral Hall
  • 1862 King's College Hospital
  • 1866 Junior Carlton Club
  • 1867 South Kensington Exhibitions
  • 1870 Rendlesham Hall
  • 1870 Normanhurst Court
  • 1871 South Kensington Exhibitions
  • 1871 Royal Albert Hall
  • 1872 Charterhouse School
  • 1873 Alexandra Palace .

In the 1860s the brothers collaborated with John Aird and Sons

1866 In the wake of the Overend Gurney banking failure both the Airds and the Lucas Brothers were ideally placed to fill the vacuum left by the bankruptcy of many of the leading contracting firms. Between them they completed many of Peto's contracts.

From 1870 the two families operated as three firms: Lucas Brothers, who carried out building works, Lucas and Aird, who carried out railway and civil engineering contracts, and John Aird and Sons, who continued to specialize in water and gas contracts.

Members of the Lucas family were brought into the business.

1895 following the death of Sir Charles Thomas Lucas the Lucas Brothers business and Lucas and Aird were dissolved.

The businesses were reorganised again as:

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