Established in 1919, 2019 sees us celebrate 100 years in business. To commemorate our founding year, we want to share the story of the founder of our organisation, who we remain named after - Archibald Henderson.
Archibald Henderson started his engineering career in 1895, aged 17, working for David Cunningham who was an Engineer for Dundee Harbour Trust. During his training he worked on many marine projects around the Dundee area gaining hands-on experience of civil engineering.
As a fully qualified engineer, he left Dundee Harbour Trust to go and work on projects around the world. He worked in Wales, Spain, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and more. One of his most impressive projects was in Brazil where he worked on a major dredging, reclamation and harbour works project. The value of the project in 1909 was around £6M, which would be closer to one billion in today’s money.
Archibald returned to Scotland in 1913 with a vast amount of engineering and life experience. At this time he became the Resident Engineer for Macduff Harbour, a position he held until he died.
After WWI, Archibald went into Partnership with G. Gordon Nicol, and began trading as Henderson and Nicol. In 1919, at age 41, Archibald and Gordon set up office at 21 Bridge St, Aberdeen and started work specialising in marine civil engineering. The firm worked on many strategically important harbour and marine projects in Aberdeen, Macduff, Port Seton, Stonehaven, Rosehearty, Girvan, Fleetwood, Lerwick, Peterhead and Nairn.
Archibald was the President of the Aberdeen Association of Civil Engineers from 1923 to 1924.
During the 1930s, a time of world-wide depression, the company found trading conditions challenging, and Gordon Nicol decided to leave the partnership in 1938, leaving Archibald as the sole Partner until his death in 1947 at the age of 69. His eldest son, Ian took over the business followed by his youngest son, Gordon, who joined the firm in 1971. Today, no family members work in the organisation, but their legacy has been built upon to take the business into the 21st Century. The current Partnership of seven Partners manages a staff of nearly 80 people; offering a wider range of services - adding to engineering design with architecture design, project management, environmental services, geotechnical engineering design, principal designer role and diving inspections in industries such as energy, defence, healthcare, industrial and commercial installations as well as marine which still accounts for around half of our annual revenue.