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Click on the rotating text to learn more about John Laing's 175 years of investing.

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Click on the rotating text to learn more about John Laing's 175 years of investing.

1840 train smaller

Welcoming in the


A long recession comes to an end as cities across the UK are linked by railways.


James Laing, born in 1816, finishes building the house and sells it. The proceeds from the first house financed the building of the next two houses on the same plot of land, one of which was kept by the Laing family to live in.

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Welcoming in the


Britain re-enters recession.

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James Laing dies, leaving the company entirely in the hands of John Laing Senior, father of Sir John Laing

1900s pier cropped viewing

Welcoming in the


The construction industry booms.

1906 Barrow in Furness viewing


The company wins the contract for construction of new surface water sewers by the docks at Barrow in Furness.

Barrow in Furness viewing
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Welcoming in the


The War

1910 Great War viewing v2


The Great War exposes the shortcomings of British industry, with many vital components such as ball bearings and drugs being bought from Germany.

Gretna Tavern


The company wins a series of war contracts, and is among the contractors building a whole new town from scratch at Gretna in Scotland for 10,000 staff making ordnance at the nearby factory. To combat some workers' heavy drinking, the Government nationalised breweries and licensed premises in Gretna and north Cumbria in the area. Image © Cumbria Image Bank (Carlisle Library).

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The company invented the Easiform system for building new housing after the war. Concrete houses were poured into moulds and shuttering. From the 1920s to the 1960s Laing built over 100,000 homes in this way, all over the UK.

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Welcoming in the


A period of prosperity follows the austerity of the war.

1922 Mill Hill HQ viewing v2


The firm moves its headquarters from Carlisle to Mill Hill in North West London.

1930 WWII

Welcoming in the


World War Two begins, ravaging Europe.

1931 Shenley


Building work starts on Shenley Mental Hospital

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Welcoming in the


World War Two continues.

Normandy landings v2


John Laing builds artificial harbours for Allied armies to land on Normandy.

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John Laing builds 54 airfields during World War Two and afterwards helps to rebuild Britain following the damage wrought by bombing.

1945 airfield viewing v2


Health Minister Aneurin Bevan opens the first Easiform house on the Coldharbour Farm estate in Greenwich.

1947 Easiform Bevan viewing v2
1950s rationing

Welcoming in the


Life remains difficult after the war, with rationing and shortages continuing.

1953 LSE v2


John Laing & Sons (Holdings) Ltd first listed on the London Stock Exchange. The firm has 10,000 employees.


John Laing builds four of the first five sections of the M1.

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Welcoming in the


The Swinging Sixties: a cultural revolution.

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The Queen attends a consecration service for Coventry cathedral.


Tthe Duke of Edinburgh opens the Birmingham Bull Ring shopping centre on 29 May 1964.

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John Laing wins the contract to build the Westway overpass in London.

1970 Six Day War

Welcoming in the


The Six-Day War triggers an energy crisis.

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John Laing begins work on Wood Green Shopping City.

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Sir John Laing passes away.

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Welcoming in the


Saddam Hussein's Iraq attacks Iran.


The Queen opens the Barbican Centre in London.

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sM25 viewing


John Laing helps to build the M25.

M25v2 viewing
1990s Apple II

Welcoming in the


The rise of the internet.

Second Severn viewing


Construction starts on the Second Severn Crossing (now known as Prince of Wales Bridge).

Ashford Station


John Laing manages the building work on Ashford international train station, Kent.

1998 Coventry cathedral


The company celebrated its 150th anniversary with events at Coventry and Carlisle Cathedrals.



John Laing wins contract for the A130 bypass in the UK.

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Ground Zero

Welcoming in the


The dotcom boom and 9/11.

Intercity Express Programme 1 viewing

John Laing is announced as the preferred bidder for the InterCity Express Programme - 122 Super Express trains for the Great Western Main Line and East Coast Main Line.

A15 Motorway

Welcoming in the


Strong economic growth and increased investment in infrastructure.

Denver Eagle P3 photo

The investment in Denver Eagle, three new commuter rail lines to expand transit across the Denver Metropolitan area, marks John Laing's entry into the US P3 market and was the country's first public-private partnership transit project.

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John Laing invests in the New Royal Adelaide Hospital, marking the Group's entry into the Australian PPP market.

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John Laing acquires an initial stake in I-77 Mobility Partners, a PPP to increase capacity and reduce congestion by widening 26 miles of highway and adding managed lanes in Charlotte, North Carolina.


John Laing's Cross Yarra Partnership wins a tender for the tunnels and stations works in the Melbourne Metro Tunnel project, one of the largest transport infrastructure projects ever undertaken in Australia.

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John Laing's Optus Stadium in Perth, Western Australia opens.

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John Laing acquires a stake in the Ruta del Cacao road project, marking its entry into the Colombia market.


Welcoming in the


Covid-19 dominates the beginning of the decade.

KKR logo

John Laing is acquired by funds managed by KKR.

Convention Centre Dublin viewing

John Laing acquires a portfolio of three assets from AMP Capital, the infrastructure manager of the Irish Infrastructure Fund (IIF). 

Tegnebrett+1 bridge

John Laing enters a partnership arrangement to acquire an indirect majority interest from Macquarie Capital in the consortium delivering Norway’s Rv555 Sotra Connection public-private partnership (PPP), the largest PPP in Norway to date.

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1848 photo min smaller

1848 photo min smaller
A Brief History

The John Laing building company began in 1848 when James Laing (born 1816), his wife Ann and a few employees built a house in Carlisle. They sold it for £175 (around £17,000 today), allowing them to build two more houses. 

Before the Second World War the now formed John Laing building company built more homes and won major government contracts. The business expanded to include ventures in Britain and overseas in investments, technology and even mining. 

By the Second World War the fifth generation of Laings were with the company. John Laing remained a family business until 2001 when the construction side that started it all was sold after 156 years of building.

Queen Coventry model

Queen Coventry model
Constructing post-war Britain

John Laing pioneered Easiform, an innovative form of house construction enabling thousands of new homes to be built quickly. ​

The company was responsible for building much of the new town Milton Keynes; power stations like Sizewell B; the Second Severn Crossing; hospitals and schools all across England; the British Library; modern office blocks like the CIS Tower in Manchester (then the tallest inhabited building in Europe).

As well as rebuilding the Coventry Cathedral, it also built a Mormon temple, a mosque and redeveloped a synagogue.

Everyone’s lives were touched in some way by John Laing’s work. Some of the less famous, but no less important, undertakings of the company were the multiple car parks, sewage works, shopping malls and holiday villages constructed after the 1950s.

Family outing

Family outing
Family Outings

During a period of incredible growth for the company, the business focused on the care of their staff. There were welfare officers, site nurses on big projects and pioneering changes in health and safety that they supported, from flat-caps to hard hats. 

Influenced by the religious attitudes of its founder, Sir John Laing, who was part of the Plymouth Brethren, the company had enlightened attitudes towards its staff for the time, with a strong focus on family values.

It arranged company away days, events and trips to the seaside for the families of its workers. Photographs were taken to record these events for the company’s ‘Team Spirit’ in-house newsletter, published from 1946-2001.