From the Burj Khalifa to BAT

After John Wolfe Barry died in January 1918 the civil engineering consultancy he had started has continued to operate to this very day and those he trained were successful in their own right.

Business legacy

The original partnership with Henry Brunel had eventually been joined by one of John’s sons Kenneth, as well as Arthur Barry (his nephew), Cuthbert Brereton and George Crutwell. In 1902 the partnership joined with that of Bruce and White railway builders to the British Empire and in 1913 Anthony Lyster, who had served as President of the Institution of Civil Engineers, would also become a partner.

The business would eventually become part of Hyder Consulting, the international engineering consultancy, since absorbed by the Arcadis Group. Hyder was involved in building the famous Burj Khalifa in Dubai, currently the world’s tallest free-standing structure at 828 meters.

People legacy

The partnership’s legacy also passed through John Wolfe Barry’s pupils, the most famous of whom was Alexander Gibb, another President of ICE and founder of a different engineering dynasty linked to his name, which eventually became part of the modern day Jacobs Group.

Kenneth Wolfe Barry was the second son of  John Wolfe Barry and became a junior partner in the firm covering considerable overseas consultancy work. During the First World War he took charge of a cordite factory at Gretna in Scotland and was awarded an OBE for his services. He died in 1936 but has living descendants who continue to bear the family name.

Rustat Blake became a partner in Wolfe Barry’s firm from 1918 to 1922,when he joined Alexander Gibb and Partners in a similar capacity.

Leopold Savile was yet another future ICE President who also joined Alexander Gibb’s team.

Hugo Cunliffe-Owen moved into a different occupation after completing his pupilage with Wolfe Barry, eventually becoming President of the British-American Tobacco Company (BAT) and a Baronet to boot.

Reginald Maudslay went on to found the Standard Motor Company in Coventry with an investment of £3,000 from John Wolfe Barry.

Return to first section – Early life

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