Roof support work JLP01_08_060847
COMMONWEALTH INSTITUTE, KENSINGTON HIGH STREET, KENSINGTON AND CHELSEA, GREATER LONDON. Workers inserting a wedge in the timber formwork at the top of a roof support column during construction of the Commonwealth Institute exhibition hall.
Laing built the Commonwealth Institute between October 1960 and October 1962 to replace the former Imperial Institute that was to be demolished to make way for new facilities at Imperial College. The building consisted of a four-storey administrative block housing a library, restaurant, board room and conference hall and a separate two-storey b lock containing a cinema with an art gallery above, but the focus of the project was the exhibition hall with its hyperbolic paraboloid roof, the first of its kind constructed in Great Britain. The exhibition, designed by James Gardner, provided spaces where each of the Commonwealth nations could showcase their achievements and characteristics, primarily to school children as teaching aids to enliven history and geography lessons.
The shell arch of the central roof section was of reinforced concrete, cast in situ using timber formwork with rough sawn boards to provide a textured internal surface whilst the four outer "warps" were constructed using precast beams and wood wool slabs, blocks of shredded timber bound together in a cement paste and left visible from the interior. The entire roof was then clad in copper sheeting over a layer of vermiculite. It covers an area of 33,700sqft, 183 feet square with the central section 93 feet square and ranges between 30ft high at its lowest and 80ft at the peaks
© Historic England Archive
Allscott Sugar Beet Factory JLP01_08_061059
Allscott Sugar Beet Factory, Allscott, Wrockwardine, Telford and Wrekin. Two Laing workers concreting the roof of a sugar silo at Allscott Sugar Beet Factory.
A sugar beet factory was at Allscott from 1927 until it closed in 2007. Laing built two sugar silos here in 1961 for the British Sugar Corporation who were the owners of the site. Each silo was able to store 10,000 tons of granulated sugar and at the time they were constructed, they were the tallest that Laing had built so far using sliding formwork. The roofs of the sugar silos were covered with Thermacoust roofing slabs and were covered with concrete and asphalt, with work on the second silo due to be completed by the middle of October 1961
© Historic England Archive. John Laing Photographic Collection
Demolition of Waterloo Bridge CXP01_01_095
WATERLOO BRIDGE, LAMBETH, GREATER LONDON. Two men working beneath a girder during the demolition of the old Waterloo Bridge.
The Waterloo Bridge, which is shown during its demolition, was designed by John Rennie and opened in 1817. The demolition of the bridge took place in the 1930s and the two men shown in the photograph appear to be using a pneumatic tool to dismantle a temporary steel framework which had been erected in 1925. The bridge was later replaced with another in the 1940s
© Historic England Archive