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British Industrial History

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J. L. Kier and Co

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J. L. Kier and Co of 142 Victoria Street, London, SW1

1928 Jorgen Lotz and Olaf Kier, formed Lotz and Kier, a construction business[1]. They were pioneers of reinforced concrete design and construction. Their first contract was for to use reinforce concrete in a bridge in Bath (which is still in service in 2021 and bears the Lotz and Kier plaque - presumably this was Cleveland Bridge).

1932 J. L. Kier and Co. was formed to take over the civil engineering and building contractor business that had been established by Olaf Kier.

c.1934 Ove Nyquist Arup became chief engineer of J. L. Kier and Co. He appointed Felix James Samuely to carry out the structural calculations for the spiral ramp of the penguin pool at the London Zoo (designed by Berthold Lubetkin).

Samuely subsequently joined J. L. Kier & Co. on a permanent basis.

Designed Highpoint I and II, residential blocks, one of the first examples of box-frame construction in the UK.

1937 Reinforced concrete contractors. [2]

1938 Whilst work was scarce in Britain, the firm took a major contract on the Trans-Persian Railway in conjunction with Edmund Nuttall, Sons and Co

WWII Involved in the war effort, including construction of modules for the Mulberry Harbour.

Post-WWII Reconstruction work.

1949 J. L. Kier and Co (London) Ltd was incorporated.

After working on the reconstruction of Rotterdam Docks, Kier was chosen as chair of the Anglo-Dutch Owens Falls Dam project in Uganda[3]

1950s Construction projects included the Medway Bridge and many power stations.

1963 Public company J. L. Kier and Co Ltd was formed to take over J. L. Kier and Co (London) Ltd. The business of J. L. Kier and Co (London) became Kier Ltd. which took on all of the civil engineering and building contracting work of the 2 predecessor companies, including most types of heavy civil engineering including power stations, harbours, roads, bridges, pipelines, cooling towers, factories and other buildings. Also had 5 subsidiaries:[4]

1967 After rapid expansion, the company moved to Tempsford Hall in Bedfordshire.

Acquisitions brought new expertise to the company, including civil engineering and commercial and private building.

1971 Robert Marriott, housebuilders, became part of Kier Group.

1973 Acquired by W. and C. French to form French Kier Holdings Ltd

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. [1] Wikipedia
  2. 1937 The Aeroplane Directory of the Aviation and Allied Industries
  3. The Times May 22, 1986
  4. The Times Nov. 25, 1963
  • Biography of Felix James Samuely, ODNB
  • The Times Nov. 25, 1963
  • The Times May 22, 1986
  • [2]