Alan Harris (engineer)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Sir Alan Harris
Born18 July 1916
Plymouth, England
Died26 December 2000
EducationNorthampton Polytechnic now City, University of London
Engineering career
DisciplineStructural engineer
InstitutionsInstitution of Structural Engineers
Institution of Civil Engineers
Practice nameHarris and Sutherland
ProjectsPrestressed concrete hangar at Heathrow Airport for BOAC maintenance headquarters 1950-5, Spekeland Road Rail Depot
AwardsGold Medal of the Institution of Structural Engineers in 1984

Sir Alan James Harris CBE[1] (8 July 1916 – 26 December 2000) was a British civil and structural engineer.

Early life and education[edit]

Harris was born in 1916 in Plymouth,[2] and started working at the age of 16 taking evening classes in engineering at Northampton Engineering College now City, University of London.[3]


From 1940 to 1946 Harris served with the Royal Engineers as an officer in a Port Construction and Repair Company, landing at Port-en-Bessin in Normandy on D-Day + 1.[4][3][5] He was officer in command of diving on Mulberry B at Arromanches, working from a small fleet of French fishing boats, as a result of which he was awarded the Croix de Guerre.[3] He later joined the Royal Engineers in the Territorial Army where he attained the rank of Colonel.

After World War II Harris went to Paris to work for Eugène Freyssinet, the pioneer of prestressed and reinforced concrete and in 1949 became Freyssinet‘s representative in England.

In 1955 Harris, his brother John, and James Sutherland set up the consulting business of Harris & Sutherland. Among other things, they designed aircraft hangars for Heathrow and Gatwick airports. Later, they expanded their work to infrastructure projects and had branches in Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong. Harris & Sutherland was acquired by Babtie, Shaw and Morton in 1997,[6] and since 2004 has been part of Jacobs Engineering.[7]

Harris was a vice president of the Institution of Civil Engineers.[8] He was President of the Institution of Structural Engineers in 1978-9 and was awarded its Gold Medal in 1984. Harris was appointed a professor of concrete structures at Imperial College London in 1973.

Awards and honours[edit]

Selected projects[edit]

  • Prestressed concrete hangar at Heathrow Airport for BOAC maintenance headquarters 1950-55[10]
  • Spekeland Road Rail Depot[11]


  1. ^ a b "The London Gazette 13th June 1980".
  2. ^ "The President 1978-9" (PDF).
  3. ^ a b c d "Obituary of Professor Sir Alan Harris by Chris Burgoyne" (PDF).
  4. ^ Harris, Alan (1989). "The Mulberry Harbours". Transactions of the Newcomen Society. 61 (1): 81–99. doi:10.1179/tns.1989.007.
  5. ^ "Second World War:gathering Mulberries".
  6. ^ "Babtie in joint bid for Harris & Sutherland". Construction News. 6 March 1997. Retrieved 20 February 2019.
  7. ^ Jacobs buys Babtie consultancy for £90m, Financial Times, 16 August 2004 -[dead link]
  8. ^ "Sir Alan Harris".
  9. ^ "Honorary DSc University of Exeter 1984".
  10. ^ "Hangar at Heathrow".
  11. ^ "Spekeland Road Rail Depot".

External links[edit]