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London: Heroes and Superheroes of PM

Abercrombie's 1943 plan

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 and cross-generations.

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 personalities.

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 science.

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 II? Discuss!

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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 management community.

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 sectors.

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.

Patrick Abercrombie.
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 the world.

Charles Babbage
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 for ages.

Dr Thomas Barnardo (1845-1905)
helping children.

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.

Trevor Bayliss
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 of nostalgia.

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 (1778–1829)
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 WC1N 2LX.

Charles Draper
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 (1890–99) 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.

Hawker Siddeley
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.

Peter Hobbs
For the automatic electric kettle and also the first coffee percolator in 1952.

Sherlock Holmes
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 World War.

Tessa Jowell (1947-2018)
Influential 2012 Olympics champion, local London politician and government minister.

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.

Guglielmo Marconi
Developer of radio transmission equipment through funding in UK and London including from the General Post Office. (see also Francis Ronalds (1788–1873), inventor of the Electric Telegraph in 1816.)

Hiram Maxim
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 in production.

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.

Florence Nightingale
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 the streets.

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.

Frank Pick
Underground - image and communications. + Henry Beck (tube map) + Charles Tyson Yerkes, American entrepreneur who combined lines.

Harry Potter
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 - possibly.

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 simple.

Earnest Shackleton - (1874-1922)
Explorer - with outstanding leadership. Visit the Royal Geographical Society.

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.

John Shepherd-Barron
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 to thank".

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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