Henry Boot reputation built over 125 years

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SHEFFIELD company Henry Boot will tonight (Thursday) celebrate 125 years as one of the UK’s leading property and construction organisations.

Former Sheffield MP and ex-Trade and Sports Minister Richard Caborn will be guest speaker at the Cutlers Hall.

It will be announced that Henry Boot’s charity for the next 12 months will be the Sheffield Children’s Hospital Charity. In addition to raising money, the firm will invite suppliers and sub-contractors to join it in refurbishment projects.

Although renowned as a house-builder, Henry Boot has been involved in many hospital and school projects – and prisons.

Speaking before the event, Mr Caborn said the company had had a “big impact” on Sheffield and beyond, becoming an international organisation while retaining its headquarters in the city.

It had played a part in Sheffield’s social agenda, such as through charitable work with boxing clubs in Burngreave and on the Manor, and it had always placed a high priority on training. “It can be proud of Sheffield, and Sheffield can be proud of Henry Boot,” said Mr Caborn.

The founder was the son of a farmer, Charles Boot, who lived in Heeley. Henry Boot worked with building firms before striking out on his own in 1886, becoming involved in large public works.

Within two years of becoming a public company in 1920, there were offices in Sheffield, London, Paris, Barcelona and Athens to oversee contracts for harbours, underground railways, waterways and drainage systems.

It designed and built Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire, was at the forefront of the new town project, Welwyn Garden City, and laid the track for the mass transit railway in Hong Kong.

By the 1990s, activities encompassed construction, housing, property development, land management and plant hire.

The company’s headquarters have been at Banner Cross since 1932 and it retains its family links – Jamie Boot has been group managing director for 25 years.

Current priorities include the creation and rapid expansion of a division in renewable energy.

Information technology is being used “to deliver more accurate and efficient design and production processes” and to produce “significant cost savings for clients”.