The Posford Story

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The Posford StoryA history of the Firm from 1944 to 2002

MAUNSELL, POSFORD & PAVRY - POSFORD, PAVRY & PARTNERS POSFORD DUVIVIER - POSFORD HASKONING, Consulting EngineersForeword On 1 September 2001 the eight former companies of the Royal Haskoning Group integrated into one, becoming Royal Haskoning. The new company comprises eight market-led divisions, with cross-divisional corporate and support groups. This brought to an end the era of independent operation of the company co-founded by John Posford in 1944. This history gives a brief chronological account of the firm from a st few years before its formation up until 1 February 2002 when Haskoning UK Holdings Ltd became the board of directors. It also includes short histories of Lewis and Duvivier (founded in 1887) and of TF Burns and Partners (founded in 1946). Overview Guy Maunsell and John Posford both trained as articled engineers to Sir Alexander Gibb. During the Second World War they were involved in numerous projects for both the Royal Navy and the Army in the form of inshore forts and floating docks. In 1944 they formed Guy Maunsell and Partner in Victoria Street, London. Richard Pavry joined the firm in 1948 and became a partner in 1949 when the firm was renamed Maunsell, Posford and Pavry. The firm split into two in late 1955, leading to the establishment of Maunsell and Partners and of Posford, Pavry and Partners, whose Senior Partner was John Posford. The lease of the offices in Abbey House, Victoria Street was terminated and the firm moved its head office to Peterborough in 1973 (moving into Rightwell House in 1974), with the London office moving to Albany House, Petty France, not very far from Victoria Street. Following a period of expansion in the late 1970s, particularly in overseas work, the firm was awarded the Queens Award for Export Achievement in 1979 and marked the event with a party on the lawn in front of Rightwell House in the summer of that year. In 1983 WH Radford & Son of Nottingham was incorporated into the firm and a year later Posford, Pavry th and Partners celebrated its 40 anniversary. John Posford retired in 1985 and was succeeded as Senior Partner and Managing Director by Alastair Stirling who had joined the firm in 1957. In 1987 Posford, Pavry and Partners merged with Lewis and Duvivier to form Posford Duvivier. Posford House was opened in Bretton by HRH The Duke of Gloucester GCVO in 1989, a year which also saw the establishment of Posford Duvivier Environment. In 1992 TF Burns and Partners merged with Posford Duvivier and further discussions and negotiations held throughout 1994 culminated in the shareholding of Posford Duvivier being acquired by Royal Haskoning at the end of that year. Following the merger, however, Posford Duvivier continued to trade in the UK more or less independently. In the summer of 1997 Dick Holland succeeded Alastair Stirling as Managing Director. Towards the end of 2000, the eight companies of the Royal Haskoning Group began the integration st st process, the new structure came into being internally on 1 April 2001 and was launched publicly on 1 September 2001, when Posford Duvivier became Posford Haskoning, a company of Royal Haskoning. st On 1 February 2002, the board of Posford Haskoning was ended and each market led divisional director became responsible for the division with staff principally in the Netherlands, UK & France, thus the position of Managing Director in the UK disappeared. From its formation in 1944 until full integration into Royal Haskoning in 2001, the firm was associated with many thousands of projects, ranging from the very small to the very large, such as Canary Wharf Underground Station. These projects, overseen by the Partners and Directors, were carried out by many individuals, too numerous to mention, but who were, in fact, the firm. Alastair Stirling/David Bone July 2002Footnote: In January 2005 the legal entity, Posford Haskoning Ltd, became Haskoning UK


Updated January 2005


A Chronological History1941 42

(with reference to the larger projects)

Guy Maunsell and John Posford, working with Sir Alexander Gibb and Partners, were involved in the design and execution of Naval Forts for the Naval Works Department. These were large concrete structures weighing 4,000 tons with a hull base (barge shaped) from which rose two towers surmounted by anti aircraft guns with living accommodation in the towers. They were constructed in dry docks and floated out to position and sunk with the crews on board and ready for action.

1942 - 43

The Army Forts were their next project, these were steel towers in similar water depths to the Naval Forts (6-8 fathoms). These had steel box bases (cruciform on plan) with the inclined steel tubular legs rising from them to support the steel accommodation modules (three storeys) above which were the guns. These were also built in dry docks but were floated out supported by two independent pontoons with winches to lower the towers down onto the seabed, again with the crews on board. These pontoons were reused for the many forts put in position.

Both these towers/forts were placed on the unprepared seabed but the seabed had been surveyed to ensure slopes were within acceptable tolerances. They were mostly sited off the East Coast and in the Thames and Mersey Estuaries. The forts were used as radio stations and gun positions against aircraft and MTBs/E boats. They lasted well and some are still standing, indeed one was used by Radio Caroline in the 1960s. 1944 The firm G A Maunsell and Partner was established on 6th April as a consulting engineer in Victoria Street with Guy Maunsell and John Posford as the partners. At this time (1943 46) they were designing and supervising a series of concrete floating docks that were needed by the forces both in Europe and the Far East. These consisted of varying sizes of pre cast concrete docks (6 walls) for vessels of 400, 600, 800 and2 Updated January 2005

MAUNSELL, POSFORD & PAVRY - POSFORD, PAVRY & PARTNERS POSFORD DUVIVIER - POSFORD HASKONING, Consulting Engineers1,000 tons capable of being towed to where they were required. As late as the 1970s the firm was being asked for details of these docks and in particular in what conditions it would be safe to tow them. The firm has records of these docks as far away as Sri Lanka (where some were built) and Singapore. (Staff involved included Guy Maunsell, John Posford, John Swansbourne, Arthur Allen and Gerry Elstub) 1948 52 In post war Britain the new firm, with the support of Sir Alexander Gibb and Partners, undertook the design and supervision of two large oil refineries for Shell. They were at Stanlow on the Manchester Ship Canal and at Shellhaven on the Thames. These would have been 100million+ jobs at todays prices with monthly certificates running at 3million. The contractors were Arthur Monk for Stanlow and John Mowlem for Shellhaven. A design office was established at Ince Hall near Stanlow and later in Chester. Richard Pavry, who had joined the firm in 1948 after war service in the Royal Engineers and previously with Dorman Long, was taken into the partnership on 6th April and the firms name was subsequently changed to Maunsell, Posford and Pavry. In October of that year the firm moved to Abbey House, at 2, Victoria Street where it stayed until 1973. Douglas Lax joined the firm as Chief Engineer, he was appointed a Consultant in January th 1961, retired in 1973 and died on 12 June 1978. As a result of the Shell refineries the firm was appointed to design and supervise a refinery in Baghdad at Dora. This was followed by a number of road bridge designs across the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers for the Iraq Government (Department of Roads and Bridges). An office was opened in 1953 in Baghdad to service these projects. Peter Rowley was RE on Dora Refinery and he subsequently managed the Baghdad office. The following bridges were built: 1955 Hindiya and Samawa (John Swansbourne as RE); 1958-60?; Qurnah and Abbasiyat; early 1970s; Tikrit (the home of Saddam Hussein); 1972-79 Al Muthana on the northern edge of Baghdad. Two projects were undertaken for Associated Ethyl Co. Ltd. - one to extract bromine from sea water at Amlwch on Anglesea and the other to make ethyl lead at Ellesmere Port on the Manchester Ship canal. The Gambia Wharf design at Bathurst The firm started its long association with Ford Motor Company, initially with Briggs Motor Bodies projects at Dagenham leading on to the press shop extension, die store, new press shop and offices, road improvements, new assembly building, foundry extension, Body-in-White building, engine plant, KD building and Hi Bay to name a few. (This work was under the control of Richard Pavry and subsequently Jock Guthrie.) Unfortunately there was disagreement amongst the partners and the firm split into two on 25th October 1955. Posford, Pavry and Partners, and Maunsell and Partners were then established (PP&P on 1st October 1956). Each part took various projects, staff and clients with them. (Guy Maunsell subsequently died in 1958) National Coal Board Sea Boring Towers. These two mobile drilling towers were designed to be movable from one position to another in the Firth of Forth and off the Durham coast to drill into the sea bed for coal in water depths up to 10 fathoms. The designs were innovative and based to a large extent on the Army Fort experience in the War. They were designed to withstand the sea and wind conditions encountered offshore. They successfully drilled many holes for the Coal Board. Some years later one was positioned by Trinity House off the Suffolk/Essex coast onto which was mounted the Inner Dowsing lighthouse.


1951 1951 80