Lawrence Hadley was born in London in 1925, and evacuated to Minehead at the outbreak of the Second World War. On his return to London he became an apprentice with a mechanical engineering contractor in central London. During his apprenticeship he studied at the Borough Polytechnic between 1941 and 1946, including the heating and ventilating engineering intensive course in 1944. These courses became the foundation of the National College of Heating, Ventilating, Refrigeration and Fan Engineering when it opened in 1948.
He wrote 60 years later: “I recall my main tutors then being Mr Harwood and Mr Cowan, who managed to keep our attention in spite of the regular flying bombs overhead. I don’t recall the class ever retreating to the shelters – just a quick duck under the desk.”
After completing his apprenticeship he joined Donald Smith and Partners, Consulting Engineers, the forerunner of DSSR. In a letter dated July 1946, confirming his appointment as a draughtsman, Donald Smith himself wrote: “We trust you will find your work for us congenial and can assure you that you will have ample opportunities for enlarging your experience”.
Laurie Hadley’s relationship with DSSR lasted 41 years. He was a partner for 30, and senior partner for six. He rapidly involved himself with a number of committees, sub-committees and working parties for professional institutes and learned bodies. He became a council member of the Association of Consulting Engineers, a member of the Institute of Healthcare Engineering and Estate Management in 1972, and later a Fellow, and became involved with a number of other engineering institutions, including the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers.
He became a liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Plumbers in 1976 and was the livery company’s senior steward from 2002. In 1977 he was chairman of the National Joint Consultative Committee for Building, and in 1978 president of the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers. He was elected president of IHEEM for the years 1983-1985 and to the same role at the International Federation of Hospital Engineering for the years 1998-2000.
In 1986 he was awarded the OBE for services to hospital engineering, and even after retirement he continued to support professional engineers - finally stepping down from the IHEEM Journal Committee in December 2006 and the Institute’s International Committee in January 2007. He died in 2008.