Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 143,439 pages of information and 230,054 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

William S. Atkins

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William Sydney Albert Atkins (1902-1989)

1902 Born in Bow, London

1908 His father died

1913-18 Educated at Cooper's Company School

1918-23 Apprentice with Sir Edward Graham Wood, Edward Wood and Co, structural engineers, under A. B. Steele. Evening classes at Manchester College of Technology.

1923 Student member of Inst Civil Engineers

1923 Degree from University College

1925-6 Assistant engineer to Dr Oscar Faber, designing structural steelwork and reinforced concrete.

1926-7 With Dorman Long and Co

1927-8 Worked for Foundation Co Ltd, contractors, design work for Deptford West power station

1928 Associate Inst Civil Engineers

With Smith Walker Ltd as structural designer and rose rapidly to become chief engineer in 1928

1929 Chief engineer, E. W. Cook, M I C E, consulting engineer; worked on reconstruction of Regent Street, London, construction of several cinemas and other city buildings.

Bought out one of Smith Walker's subsidiary companies, specializing in reinforced concrete. Formed the The London Ferro-Concrete Co. Ltd.

1935 Became managing director of The London Ferro-Concrete Co. Ltd.

1938 Founded W. S. Atkins and Partners

1939 Chairman and Managing Director, The London Ferro-Concrete Co. Ltd., 9 Tufton Street, Westminster, S.W.1.

1945 Arranged a management buy-out by the directors of London Ferro-Concrete

1945 Senior partner in W. S. Atkins and Partners. Won contract to design the new Abbey steelworks at Port Talbot, Glamorgan, despite having virtually no staff.

1949 Member of Inst Civil Engineers

1950 He severed his connections with London Ferro-Concrete to concentrate all his energy on W. S. Atkins & Partners

Atkins was associated with most of the large steelworks developments in Britain and many overseas. Other projects included Berkeley and Drax power station, Selby coalfield, the Channel Tunnel, and major parts of motorway construction.

1976 Knighted as Sir William Atkins

1986 Decided to stand down as chairman of the company.

1989 Died

See Also


Sources of Information

  • Civil Engineer records
  • Biography of Sir William Atkins, ODNB