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The Breaking New Ground Project

We are recruiting a project team to work on Breaking New Ground, a project funded by the John Laing Charitable Trust. This 21-month project will open up the John Laing plc photographic collection to the 1.3 million people who currently use the Historic England Archive across the world.

John Laing plc photographic collection

Please click on the gallery images to enlarge.

  • A man operates a control desk with large box computers in the background
  • Interior of a shopping centre, showing escalators and people shopping
  • Interior view of a car factory showing workers polishing cars
  • A large bronze sculpture suspended by crane with three workers on scaffolding manoeuvring it into position.
  • A caterpillar tractor towing an excavator that is stripping material from the ground into a chute that is dropping it into a dumper
  • A crane carrying a large concrete beam into place alongside a five storey concrete structure
  • A crane in Laing livery lifts a tractor into place guided by one man while two others look on
  • Elevated view of a construction site looking down into the middle of a circular concrete building, with cranes inside and out.

The project

This collection of photos provides a comprehensive record of Laing construction projects across the country in the second half of the 20th century. Our project will:

  • Assess the collection and prioritise images in need of urgent conservation
  • Catalogue and digitise 10,000 images
  • Engage with retired employees of John Laing plc to gather oral histories
  • Work with primary schools to engage pupils in the history of the John Laing plc sites in their local area
  • Produce and disseminate new online education resources


The project will run for 21 months starting this year and we're looking to recruit the following roles throughout the project:

  • Project Manager
  • Image Selector
  • Conservator
  • Conservation Trainee
  • Digitisation Officer
  • Digitisation Trainee
  • Cataloguer
  • Cataloguer Trainee
  • Outreach Assistant 
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An antique dial phone on a shelf
Historic England Archive

The Engine House,
Fire Fly Avenue,

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