History

Arthur Lorimer Currie

(1874-1942)

Andrew Brown

(1906-1974)

History

Currie & Brown can trace its roots back to 1876 when John Currie started working as a measurer. His son Arthur began working at his father's firm in 1897 at the age of 23 where he also trained as a measurer.

1919

In the beginning

Arthur Currie became a partner in 1903 at the firm known as John Currie & Sons. After breaking away in 1917 to work as a quantity surveyor for Robert McAlpine, Currie started his own business in Glasgow in 1919 as Arthur Lorimer Currie, Quantity Surveyor.

Andrew Brown began working for Currie when he was just 14 and, despite the 32-year age gap between Currie and Brown, the two formed a strong friendship which evolved into a successful business partnership in 1935, when the firm's name changed to A L Currie & Brown.

1940

The move south

In 1940 the opportunity came to play a part in the war effort with De Havilland at Leavesden Aerodrome and so a move was made south and an office opened in Clarendon Road, Watford. Clients such as BP and British Gas were gained during the years after the war ended and a move to larger premises in Exchange Road, Watford was secured.

As further clients and work were gained the decision was taken in 1963 to open an office in London. Marks & Spencer and London Transport (Underground) were the major clients for this enterprise.

The first international client was secured with the Dutch contractor, Ballast Nedam, to build the infrastructure for the fighter aeroplane defence system for the Royal Saudi Air Force. An office was opened in the Netherlands in 1974, which peaked at around 60 staff, largely sourced from the UK offices.

And so the move south continued, with offices being opened in Australia, Japan, USA, India, Abu Dhabi, France, Spain, Italy and Azerbaijan.

1999

The way ahead

This expansion created organisational structure challenges, and in 1999, after a review of the business by third-party consultants, it was decided to change from a partnership to a corporate entity.

During this structural reorganisation the opportunity arose to merge with Widnell UK, which strengthened the staff and client base in the UK and provided the opportunity to work with many complementary Widnell businesses throughout the world.

2001

Corporate life

Currie & Brown Holdings was incorporated in 2001 as a result of the restructuring, with shares being offered to the entire management. This was followed by the dissolution of the partnership in 2003. A board of directors answerable to the shareholders - the management - then undertook overall management of the business.

This heralded a new beginning, with a chairman, chief executive officer and financial director coming from engineering and accountancy backgrounds as opposed to the hitherto quantity surveying discipline.

Currie & Brown was successful in gaining the BCCB Major Consultant of the Year award in 2005, followed by the PPP 'Deal of the Year'. As a result of these successes it was decided to open an office in Mexico City in 2006 to take advantage of the significant PPP investment being made by the Mexican government.

This expansion, predominantly in international work, enabled Currie & Brown to win the Queen's Award for Industry for International Trade in 2009. Perhaps a fitting reward for such international diversification.

The business in Australia, where Currie & Brown had a majority shareholding, had gone from strength to strength and in 2010 it was decided to capitalise on the investment made since 1980 and sell the business to Amec.

2012

The growth cycle

Seeing the opportunity to grow even further on an international basis Currie & Brown needed greater financial backing to realise its ambitions. Accordingly, the board made the historic decision to sell the company to Dar Group in May 2012.

This milestone decision gave Currie & Brown the financial backing to acquire the APAC and Indian businesses of Sweett Group in 2015, followed by the remaining UK and European businesses in 2016.

2017

The present

Today Currie & Brown operates from over 60 offices around the world and employs around 1,900 people.