London: Heroes and Superheroes of PM
Gender in London - and Equality
A Few London PM Heroes
Many heroes of project management have particular features, characteristics
or competencies or competences which contribute to their heroic-ness.
The current project management community is very committed to
defining the optimum levels, scopes and combinations of such matters
- as Competence Frameworks - for individuals, organisations and
projects - for measurement, training and qualification purposes.
These frameworks can be very helpful in identifying and considering
examples, benchmarking and heroes. Even so, unfortunately the
over fifty framework competences may not cover all the characteristics
which apply in practice!
Consequently in these brief explanations there may be criteria
which are outside the conventional, authorised frameworks.
For instance there may be other aspects which may be of interest
to the project management community such as: luck, niceness, nastiness,
determination, respect, opportunism, connections, versatility,
zest, personality, enthusiasm, persistence, loyalty, weather resistance,
climate tolerance, presentable, background and others which help
people to get on, be effective and make contributions.
Project management is often seen as a 'people' business with
soft skills and leadership and followership of considerable importance
in achieving project and programme success.
There are many heroes of project management connected to London
in combinations of born, living, working, studying, representing,
based in and/or dying in London.
However, these publically recognised people usually represent
much wider talented and resourceful teams of colleagues, contractors,
consultants and clients. So in providing these names we trust
readers will appreciate the wider contributions of the many unsung
heroes as people and organisations involved in defining, designing
and delivering projects and their benefits.
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Gender in London - and Equality
It is inevitable and regrettable that the profiles of famous
females with project associations are not as widespread as for
the male gender, especially in historically 'masculine' sectors
- including in London.
In project management things are changing! There are more females
joining the profession, studying for qualifications and reaching
all levels and grades.
Naturally this is variable across sectors, communities, industries
and locations. Although nowadays there is a consistent awareness
that more can be done and should be done.
Certainly there will be greater benefits of greater multi-gender
involvements and contributions - and multi-racial, multi-national
However, there is a feeling that London is in the forefront of
such initiatives and awareness (more research to verify this might
be needed and useful).
We have made efforts to achieve gender balance in this module.
For probably justifiable historical contexts and reasons there
is a concentration on 18th, through 19th and into 20th Century
For females there are predominances of social issues and politics;
with health, medicine and welfare; and then arts and fashion -
of writing, painting and acting; plus some royalty and privilege.
But there are also representatives within sport, aviation and
Certainly there is no provision currently for any particular
emphasis on feminine issues or themes, with London connections
such as groups for blue stocking, Bloomsbury set or suffragettes
albeit these are significant movements.
Is it a coincidence that three of the golden eras for UK and
for London have corresponded with three of the longest reigning
monarchs who happen to be women - Elizabeth I, Victoria, Elizabeth
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A Few London PM Heroes.
Here are a few examples of people with links to London who may
also be of interest and inspiration to members of the project
These people are not all offered as recommended wholesome role
models for project managers to emulate. Most of them are far too
famous, remote and dead to be directly or completely relevant
to the project managers of today or tomorrow - and in different
However, by studying or investigating such characters it is possible
to recognise that they have characteristics and competences of
interest to project managers.
These include such as:
being tenacious, team motivation and leadership, honesty, respect,
organisational and administrative abilities, versatility, etc.
Further information for each may be found in biographies and
internet profiles of their lives and works including frequently,
as a starting point at least, on Wikipedia. These people are also
featured in museums, galleries and places to visit as well as
monuments and installations.
One of the features of being a good project manager is to use
your relevant experience. Here is a specific example in Patrick
Abercrombie (1879 to 1957) who brought 50 years' experience of
town planning and produced the Abercrombie Plan for the post-war
re-planning of London - a truly regional plan with original features
of new towns, M25 orbital motorway, airports at Heathrow and Gatwick,
and more. The graphics of the Plan were original and clear. Other
London plans at this scale include the Bressey Plan of 1930s and
by Colin Buchannan in 1960s.
PM Characteristic: Patrick was constantly collecting knowledge
and experience throughout his career and then made them useful
and available in a presentable manner.
Kate Adie (1945-)
A journalist and news correspondent of the first order respected
for her first hand reporting from dangerous situations and war
zones, continuing current events and topical themes from around
Computers are essential tools for modern project management with
their hardware, software and applications. Charles Babbage (1791
to 1871) is known as "the father of the computer"; so we all owe
him a tremendous debt. He was a mathematician, philosopher, inventor
and mechanical engineer. Examples of his machines can be seen
at the Science Museum in South Kensington - together with many
other artefacts of interest to project managers. A blue plaque
is located at Larcon Street and Walworth Road near his birthplace;
with a black plaque at 1 Dorset Street.
PM Contribution: where would we be in project management without
calculators, laptops and silicon chips? Thank you Charles for
getting us started.
Sir Joseph Bazalgette
There are many 19th century civil engineers who had a significant
impact on, in, over and under London. Bazalgette (1819 to 1891)
is a particular example of the right man at the right time - to
be the Chief Engineer of the London Metropolitan Board of Works.
He may be best known for his achievements with the London sewer
system. This was in response to the 1858 Great Stink, cholera
epidemics and a filthy River Thames.
This included new main sewers (82 miles), street sewers (1,100
miles) and pumping stations which were a true programme of projects
- operational by 1865 with a further ten years to complete.
What can we learn from Bazalgette? He built things to last. For
sizing of drains he took the highest densities of occupation with
the largest discharges - and then doubled the size of drains.
That is why they are still working today. He introduced quality
control methods for mass production and testing of materials such
as Portland cement - following on from initiatives such as for
the Crystal Palace at the Great Exhibition.
However possibly Bazalgette's more visible legacy is the number
of elegant bridges that still span the River Thames at Putney,
Albert, Battersea, Blackwell; embankments Albert, Victoria, Chelsea;
and streets such as Charing Cross Road, Northumberland Avenue
and Shaftesbury Avenue.
His legacy is all around in Central London, and celebrated with
a blue plaque at 17 Hamilton Terrace and a monument on Victoria
Embankment. Other engineers of that period who also made significant
contributions through their management of projects include Isambard
Kingdom Brunel, Thomas Telford and others (a visit to the Institute
of Civil Engineers in Westminster may be of assistance).
PM Legacy: Sir Joseph left many physical legacies; but overall
it is possible for things to look good, do their jobs and last
Dr Thomas Barnardo (1845-1905)
Dr Martin Barnes
Identified the Barnes or Iron Triangle of time, cost and scope
(including 'quality'). More significantly he was instrumental
in devising the New Engineering Contract (NEC) as an equitable
form of delivering projects. Past chairman and President of APM.
Inventor of the wind-up radio after being moved by the aids crisis
in developing countries.
Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832)
A philosopher, jurist and social refomer who sated that "it
is the greatest happiness of the greatest number that is the measure
of right and wrong."
Tim Berners-Lee - (TimBL) (1955- )
It was only in 1989 that an information management system that
Sir Tim invented became the World Wide Web. Modern project management
is dominated by such electrical and electronic communications.
John Betjeman (1906 - 1984)
poet laureate of the United Kingdom from 1972 until his death
in 1984, was known by many as a poet whose writing evoked a sense
General Charles Booth / Foundlings Hospital Sponsorship
by Hogarth and Handle. Mapping of London by social status.
Angela Burdett-Coutts (1814 - 1906)
Created Baroness in 1871 by Queen Victoria, Burdett-Coutts was
the first woman to be ennobled in recognition of her charitable
accomplishments and was widely known as the 'Queen of the Poor'
for the work she did in London.
Betty Boothroyd (1929- )
First female Speaker of the House of Commons from 1992 to 2000;
councillor in Hammersmith; MP (for West Bromwich); Chancellor
of Open University (1994-2006); life peer.
Paddington Brown - an anthropomorphised bear, originally
from darkest Peru, but always committed to London. His relevance
to project management includes his efforts "to try so hard to
get things right" and his constant politeness.
Eva Luckes and Edith Cavell
The former a matron who revolutioned hospital management and the
latter a nurse who set herself against convention by treating
all casulaties on both sides with equanimity during WW1.
Winston Churchill (1874-1965)
Political leader, author, artist, bricklayer.
Dennis Compton - (1918-1997)
Record-breaking, elegant cricketer for Middlesex and England;
also played football for Arsenal and won the League title in 1948
and FA Cup in 1950; also promoted Brylcreem hair care products.
Projects often use sporting metaphors. Dennis could be a role
model for many project managers.
Thomas Coram (1668 - 1751)
Philanthropist who created the London Foundling Hospital in Lamb's
Conduit Fields, Bloomsbury, to look after abandoned children.
It is said to be the world's first incorporated charity.
Thomas Cubitt (1788-1855)
Part of the influential Cubitt family, he was the first major
contractor to employ a permanent workforce - which project managers
will understand as highly influential in delivering projects,
statue in Denbigh Street and plaque.
Humphrey Davy (17781829)
Discovered six chemical elements - sodium, potassium, barium,
calcium, magnesium, boron.
Cressida Dick (1960- )
First woman to take charge of the Metropolitan police service
in London in 2017; starting as a constable in 1983.
Charles Dickens - (1812-1870)
Well-known as a popular writer from Victorian Times to the present
day - frequently with London contexts; but also a social critic.
He was someone who made a difference. Many project managers would
like to make a difference. Dickens Museum, 48 Doughty St, London
For an original and vital rotating design concept for the Thames
Barrier, SE18 JNJ. Completed 1982. Previous floods in Victorian
times, 1928, 1953.
Auguste Escoffier (1846-1935)
French culinary artist, known as the king of chefs and the chef
of kings, who earned a worldwide reputation as director of the
kitchens at the Savoy Hotel (189099) and afterward at the Carlton
Hotel, both in London. Famous for his peach melba.
Michael Faraday (1797-1867)
Like Sir Humphrey Davy he came from a poor background but was
highly influential in the new profession and science of physics;
and was a key initial influence in the Royal Institution. Project
management definitely is linked to science and physics. If one
thinks project management or technology has come a long way in
a short time period one has only to look at what happened to science
in the first half of the 19th century.
William Farr (1807-83)
One of the founders of medical statistics with a data driven approach
to public health with graphical representations.
Millicent Fawcett (1847-1929)
A British Intellectual, political leader, activist and a writer.
As indicated by her statue in Parliament Square she remains a
feminist icon. As a suffragist she took a moderate line but was
a tireless, dedicated campaigner. Sir Monty Finneston - UK industrialist
and influential President of Association for Project Management
who made a lasting impression.
Sir Alexander Fleming (1851-1955)
What an amazing impact a single discovery can have on mankind
in penicillin? Will Agile have a similar impact?
Rosalind Franklin (1920-58)
A brilliant biologist, chemist and x-ray crystallographer whose
early death meant she was denied her rightful recognition and
share of the Nobel Prize for the ground-breaking discovery of
the structure of DNA.
Elizabeth Fry (1780-1845)
Social and prison reformer in so many areas including homeless
hostels, charitable societies, schools for nurses.
Elizabeth Garrett Anderson (1836-1917)
The first woman to qualify in Britain as a physician and surgeon,
hospital founder and pioneer for women to enter the medical profession.
Also, England's first woman Mayor - of Aldeburgh, Suffolk. Sister
to Millicent Garret Fawcett.
GLC Architects Department
For cohesive, repetitive, yet adaptable solutions for example
with libraries, schools, fire stations, housing.
Tanni Grey-Thompson (1969-)
Cross-bench peer; advocate of equal rights for disabled people;
and outstanding athlete winning medals at Paralympic Games, World
Championships and London marathon.
Zaha Hadid (1950-2016)
World-renowned Architect; twice winner of Stirling prize (2010,
2011); first individual female recipient of the Royal Gold Medal,
awarded since 1848; completed London commissions include: London
Aquatics Centre - for 2012 Olympic Games, Serpentine Sackler Galleries
and Roca London Gallery - and others which were not realised.
Inventors of the Harrier Jump Jet (1969), among other aircraft.
Octavia Hill (1838 1912)
An English social reformer whose main concern was the welfare
of the inhabitants of cities, especially London, in the second
half of the nineteenth century.
Rowland Hill (1795 to 1879)
A versatile man who developed education for the emerging middle
classes, reformed and improved railway services, but possibly
most significantly devised the reliable, prepaid, penny postal
services which for many years was the predominant means of communication
- adopted throughout the world. He is celebrated with a statue
in King Edward Street, EC1 and in many other countries and with
a blue plaque at 1 Orme Street.
For the automatic electric kettle and also the first coffee percolator
legendary London detective and resident of 221B Baker Street,
created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Hugh Iorys Hughes
Inventor and designer of the Mulberry Harbours, used at Arromanches
on the Normandy coast during and subsequent to D-Day 1944.
Amy Johnson (1903-1941)
An amazing aviator who undertook record-breaking feats of global
flights - in a traditionally male field of endeavour - tragically
killed while delivering with Air Transport Auxiliary in Second
Tessa Jowell (1947-2018)
Influential 2012 Olympics champion, local London politician and
Ada King, Countess of Lovelace (1815-1852)
Computer pioneer, writer and mathematician, acquaintance of Charles
Dickens, Michael Faraday and Charles Babbage; daughter of Lord
Byron - and credited as the first computer programmer.
Thomas Lord (1755-1832)
Proprietor of Lord's cricket ground, the 'home of cricket' and
the MCC (Marylebone Cricket Club) with the oldest sporting museum
in the world.
Developer of radio transmission equipment through funding in UK
and London including from the General Post Office. (see also
Francis Ronalds (17881873), inventor of the Electric Telegraph
Inventor of the machine gun.
Bobby Moore (1941-1993)
Footballer and captain of West Ham and England World Cup winning
team of 1966. Genius, great guy, 'nough said.
William Morris (1834-1896)
Artist, designer, writer, socialist; forever associated with the
Arts and Crafts movement; a person with strong principles who
got things done; much of his work can still be seen and is still
John Nash (1752-1835)
Regency and Georgian Architect - having a vision. Marble Arch,
Buckingham palace, Regent Street, Regent's Park and its terraces,
Carlton House Terrace - that's all.
Known as the 'lady with the lamp' from nursing soldiers in the
Crimean war; but continued as a significant reformer and advocate
of health practices, hospital designs and medical improvements.
Noah and Family
Human survivors of the Great Flood, so parents of all mankind
including project managers. An early programme manager - see "Sixteen
Stories". London connections are tenuous so no blue plaque.
Emmeline Pankhurst (1858-1917)
With her daughters and colleagues a leading suffragette who founded
women's social and political union (WSPU) with the motto of "Deeds
not words" - which might appeal to project managers. In 1918 partially
and in 1928 equally women's suffrage was achieved.
George Peabody (1795-1869)
A London-based American born modern philanthropist, possibly the
first modern one, who established the Peabody Trust in 1862. Currently
with over 55,000 houses as a community benefit society and urban
regeneration agency. Statue at Royal Exchange.
Phyllis Pearsall (1906-1996)
A to Z street guides, Geographia, tenaciously recording London's
Charles Pearson (1793-1862)
A solicitor and campaigner instrumental in the first underground
from Paddington to Farringdon passing mainline stations of Paddington,
Marylebone, Euston, St Pancras and Kings Cross. "Unimaginable".
Sir Robert Peel (1788-1850)
Twice Prime Minister and twice Home Secretary who brought about
transformational change with odern policing through the 'Peelers'
and metropolitan Police service.
Underground - image and communications. + Henry Beck (tube
map) + Charles Tyson Yerkes, American entrepreneur who
A fictional character who is well represented in parts of London,
a veritable hero to certain generations, a great contributor to
tourism and leisure industries. Short sighted and wears glasses.
Stephen Potter (1900-1969)
Lecturer at London University and writer producer at BBC in London,
most famous for gamesmanship and one-upmanship. It is important
that project managers understand and recognise these techniques
in clients, team members and stakeholders; and so they can practise
and then implement them themselves - on occasions - as necessary
Mary Quant (1934-)
A true pioneer as a fashion designer and High Street retailer;
and enabler of the swinging sixties and swinging London - in Kings
Road and Carnaby Street; her influence and impact remain.
William Ramsey (1852-1916)
Chemist who discovered the noble gases at UCL.
John Rennie (1761-1821)
Prolific, resourceful, innovative civil engineer with Londno
projects of first Waterloo brodge, London Bridge, Southwark Bridge,
Old Vuaxhall Bridge, East and West India docks.
Stella Rimington (1935-)
First female Director General of UK Security Services MI5 (1992-96)
- and its first head to be publicly named (in 1993); she saw and
managed change through her career in the world we live in and
how security is provided.
Giles Gilbert Scott - (1880-1960)
Architect of iconic London symbols including Bankside Power Station
- now Tate Modern; Battersea Power Station - now undergoing compete
change of use; telephone kiosks - particularly K6 after K2; and
Waterloo Bridge - for the view.
Walter Segal - (1907-1985)
A Swiss architect who championed self-build housing with standard
components. Project management lesson: keep it simple, cleverly
Earnest Shackleton - (1874-1922)
Explorer - with outstanding leadership. Visit the Royal Geographical
Lord Shaftesbury (1801 1885)
Anthony Ashley Cooper, 7th Earl of Shaftesbury KG , styled Lord
Ashley from 1811 to 1851 and then Lord Shaftesbury following the
death of his father, was a British politician, philanthropist
and social reformer.
Inventor of the cash machine.
John Smeaton (1724-92)
The 'Father of civil engineering' - his research led to Portland
Cement - the first 'expert witness'.
Mary Somerville (1780-1872)
Scottish born mathematician and scientist, and a proponent of
the emancipations and education of women. Her name continues at
Somerville College, Oxford.
Margaret Thatcher (1925-2013)
Setting aside her career as a chemist and lawyer, and irrespective
of views on her politics, Mrs T was the first woman to be leader
of a major political party in the UK - and was resident at 10
Downing Street for a number of years across three general elections.
MP for Finchley.
Alan Turing (1912-1954)
Under-appreciated in his tme due to the Official Secrets Act but
widely considered to be the father of theoretical computer science
and artificial intelligence.
Samuel Whitbread (1720-1796)
First purpose built mass production brewery.
Oscar Wilde (1854 1900)
An Irish poet and playwright who become one of the most popular
playwrights in London in the 1890s.
Mary Wollstonecraft - (1759-97)
Speaking in favour of a Wollstonecraft memorial in Stoke Newington,
classics professor Mary beard said: "Every woman who wants to
make an impact on the way this country is run
has Mary Wollstonecraft
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley - (1797-1851)
Prolific, original author including Frankenstein (1818) arguably
the first work of science fiction.
Sir Christopher Wren
Architect - taking the opportunities after the Great Fire with
52 Churches and St Pauls. His plan for wholesale development was
not adopted owing to City commercial interests. Generously worked
for no fees on church projects.
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