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Engle – A Brief History

Today we are so much more than a name – but that is where the Engle journey started.
The Engle name has been at the centre of retail and leisure development for well over a hundred years and counting…

Clyde Young (b.1871) a Scot educated architecturally in London in 1889 set up an architectural practise with his father, who was also an Architect, in 1898. Originally articled to his father he took many courses at various London universities until he finally qualified two years later in 1900. His father had been very successful and had established and been the editor of Spon’s and the Architect’s and Builder’s Price Book for many years, but died soon after Clyde joined him in practise. Clyde ran the practise successfully with mix of major public buildings and country house work with a number of high profile and titled clients, with work on the Imperial Service College Windsor,University College Southampton and several buildings at the Inner Temple in London to his credit.

During this time a young German emigre Bernard Engle (originally Engel) had joined him in partnership changing the name of the practise to Young and Engle up until Young’s death in 1948 when it became Bernard Engle Partnership with a new assistant Roland Lanson joining later and becoming his partner in 1957.

The practise thrived creating many notable buildings in London and around the UK and it was during the mid 1960’s that the practise began to develop the concept of Town Centres and ‘Shopping Centres’ in particular. Developing a collaboration with Lou Hammerson, a retail entrepreneur in London during the mid 1960’s, Bernard Engle and his new partners enjoyed great success developing the concept of an ‘enclosed shopping centre’ with Lou Hammerson (who had founded the successful developers Hammerson), and went on to design and build over 45 shopping centres with them all around Great Britain following its success on the first of those, the much loved and cherished Brent Cross Shopping Centre (1976), in North London…..many of whom are still in existence and have been updated or extended over the latter years–during the retail various booms of the 80’s, 90’s and on to the millennium.

Bernard retired from the practise which bore his name in the late 1970‘s and sadly died a few years later after a long and successful career. A further 30 retail centres plus a variety of other mixed-use schemes, business parks, outlet centres and many interiors concepts and fit-outs for the many UK and international brands followed, led by a new set of partners who had risen through the company ranks, with the now ‘limited company’ Engle developing a distinct identity and its interior work winning many accolades. Work with the larger retailers like John Lewis, Debenhams, Next and Marks and Spencer both conceptually and as fitting-out projects became the mainstay of the Engle work-streams going forward and for which it is probably most well known.

The practise evolved and grew continually over the next years winning many retail awards and architectural competitions both in the UK and in Europe but with the various retail downturns and nationwide recessions and the difficulties with the UK economy that ultimately followed, the practise was latterly downsized and eventually absorbed into another similar London-based practise in 2010 and the Engle name finally disappeared for several years.

One of the last original partners of the company at that time, Neil Morris, had the vision that it might one day rise again from those heady days and continued to own the company in name only until now, in 2020, has brought about the emergence of a new company, with a former senior colleague there also, a renaissance of the Engle name and brand, which many will still recognise, and which it is hoped will continue the good and pioneering work of our original founder Bernard Engle all those years ago.