In 2012, Hoare Lea celebrated its 150th Anniversary. Click here to view our 150th Anniversary Microsite and interactive timeline.
Henry Lea (1839-1912) founding father of Hoare, Lea and Partners, was an engineer of remarkable talent. His expertise spanned the civil, mechanical and electrical disciplines and he was the first person to advertise himself as a Consulting Mechanical Engineer when he opened his office in Birmingham in 1862.
Lea was a pioneer of electrical lighting and in 1882 supervised one of the first electrical lighting systems installed in a public building at Birmingham Town Hall. That same year he oversaw the first public street lighting system in the UK in Chelsea, London.
Lea also pioneered methods of providing efficient heating and air conditioning systems, particularly to hospitals, such as the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast, widely recognised as the first building in the world to be air conditioned.
Lea died in 1912 leaving control of a successful practice to his son, Fred M. Lea, a highly capable engineer and his long-standing principal assistant. During the inter-war recession the Firm continued to design for public buildings. In 1939 Donald Lea amalgamated the Practice with that of Edwin S. Hoare and Partners of Bristol to form Hoare, Lea and Partners.
In 1945, Hoare Lea opened its first office in London. Staffing levels and overseas work increased throughout the 1940s and 1950s. Hoare died in 1957, having brought significant developments in the size and direction of the Firm.
During the 1960s the Partnership worked extensively on large-scale public building, commercial and industrial projects. By the 1970s its expertise covered the field of environmental engineering.
Today Hoare Lea remains an independent partnership, with ten offices throughout the UK and a growing international presence.