Clapham Wind TunnelOne area where being able to talk to the people who worked for John Laing is really helpful is unravelling the odd mystery. I have noticed that in a number of photographs from the 1950s there is one or two individuals who had a large L on their jacket. I speculated on what this might be and thought that most likely it was to designate the leader of a team of workers. I was able to put a short piece in John Laing's Retired Employees' News asking for any information on the mystery L and several people kindly wrote to explain the mystery - which was no real mystery at all. The L simply stood for Laing but only new employees would be given a jacket with the logotype and so this took a long time to permeate through the organisation. A case of applying Occam's razor and not overthinking things for me.
James W P Campbell opening the Conference On 5th April I got to present my early research at the Sixth Annual Conference of the Construction History Society at Queens' College, Cambridge. I was very pleased with the reaction and got a lot of questions and comments following the talk and have a number of angles to follow up. In particular my characterisation of senior staff in suits and labourers in more humble outfits was challenged with one member of the audience suggesting that suits were almost ubiquitous wear for all classes - something to look into. Other areas of interest included potential use of progress photos as means of protecting the company from claims by subcontractors or clients when a job took longer or cost more and there was a general sense that research into the social aspects of construction history as demonstrated by some of the Laing photographs would be important. The paper is published in the Proceedings so I am hopeful that the research will ga