Benjamin Hall Blyth (Tenure 1848 – 1854)
Benjamin Hall Blyth was born in 1819, leaving school at 15 to become an indentured apprentice. He joined the then leading firm of Civil Engineers, Grainger & Miller, who were engaged in many railway projects which were just starting out in Scotland at the time.
In 1848, Benjamin set up his own practice at 135 George Street, Edinburgh where the firm stayed until 1989 when we moved out to the Gyle and where the company remains.
In 1854, his younger brother Edward joined the firm and they practiced under the name of B & E Blyth. In 1866 Benjamin Hall Blyth tragically died at the age of 47 from overwork.
Benjamin Hall Blyth (II) (Tenure 1867-1917)
In 1867, Benjamin Hall Blyth (II), the son of the founder, joined the firm as an apprentice. Four years later in 1871, he was made partner.
He was elected a Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers in 1877, a member of Council in 1900 and Vice-President in 1911. In 1914 he had the distinction of being the first practicing engineer in Scotland to be elected President of the Institution.
BHB II was a keen golfer, and in 1897 sat on the first Rules of Golf Committee for the R&A. He was also closely involved with the design of Muirfield Golf Course as well as the Clubhouse.
In 1909 Benjamin Hall Blyth II’s nephew, Benjamin Hall Blyth III was taken into the Partnership. In 1913 the firm adopted the name Blyth & Blyth.
Benjamin Hall Blyth passed in 1917.
Mary Fergusson (Tenure 1936-1978)
Mary Fergusson graduated in Civil Engineering from the University of Edinburgh in 1936 and to complete her training was indentured for two years at Blyth & Blyth of Edinburgh, unpaid for the first year. She remained with the firm and worked on bridges and other infrastructure projects in Scotland, becoming a corporate member of the Institution of Civil Engineers in 1939.
She became a Senior Partner with Blyth & Blyth in 1948, making her the first female senior partner in a UK civil engineering firm. On 15 January 1957 she was the first woman to be elected as a full member of Britain’s senior engineering society, the Institution of Civil Engineers.
She retired from full-time work in 1978 and was appointed OBE in the 1979 Birthday Honours. A portrait of Fergusson was unveiled in June 2015 in the William Arrol building at Heriot-Watt University, where a hall of residence is named after her.
Jim Eddison (Tenure 1946 – 1986)
Jim Eddison’s interest in building was fired by an army course in Germany at the end of the war. He joined Blyth & Blyth as a graduate under agreement. He worked for a year in 1950-1 as an assistant engineer with LG Mouchel & Partners in London, carrying out the design of heavy reinforced concrete work for power stations. He returned to Blyth & Blyth in 1952.
There he was a charismatic figure – as one colleague of the time recalls, “a big strong man with a big strong personality”. He worked with a committed team who transformed the firm and won for it a reputation for delivering on time and to contract. In this cause he adopted innovative arrangements for the period.
His specialism was in working with architects on reinforced concrete structures, ranging from the David Hume Tower at Edinburgh University to flats for Edinburgh Corporation and the new head office building for Standard Life Assurance in St Andrew’s Square. He was also renowned for his work on the Water of Leith and is remembered by many as the engineer and businessman who helped open up the Water of Leith to the public.
Jim Gunn (Tenure 1980 – 1998)
In 1989, a new Board of Directors took over the firm led by Jim Gunn. Under Jim Gunn’s leadership Blyth & Blyth pioneered the use of CAD and invested heavily in hardware and software and, in the late 1980s, were one of the first firms to plot in colour. Due to a growing workload and staff numbers, the firm we moved out to the Gyle in 1989.
Mike Horner (Tenure 1985 – Current)
Mike Horner joined Blyth & Blyth as a Graduate Engineer in October 1985, straight from Heriot Watt University.
Mike first role within the company involved a 3 year spell based at Blyth & Blyth’s site offices at McDermott fabrication yard at Ardersier near to Inverness, dealing with all the Civils and Infrastructure works associated with the fabrication of oil rig jackets.
On returning to Edinburgh Mike became involved in the whisky sector, working on several prestigious whisky related projects since 1989.
His career Blyth & Blyth developed between 1985 to 1998 starting as a Graduate and becoming an Associate in 1998 and then becoming a Director of the company in 2001, with promotion to Managing Director shortly thereafter in 2002.
Since being promoted to Managing Director, Mike, with the support of his fellow Directors, has seen the turnover of the business double whilst maintain profitability.
Mike firmly believes that with the continued support of his fellow Directors that the company will further thrive in the coming years and continue to establish its name as the leading independent consulting Engineers in Scotland, with a history like no other.