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Our history

Sir William Atkins

Sir William Atkins

From post-war regeneration and the advent of nuclear engineering to high speed rail and the integrated sustainable cities of the future, our people’s drive to ask why has delivered design, engineering and project management excellence on some of the world’s most complex projects.

The story of our founder, Sir William Atkins, and his visionary approach to engineering – the results of which are still visible in our work today – can be read in our feature article.

The original company, WS Atkins and Partners, was established in 1938 by Sir William Atkins in London. In its early years the company specialised in civil and structural engineering design.

After the Second World War, the services WS Atkins and Partners offered to clients grew to include specialist services in planning, engineering sciences, architecture and project management.

Sir William Atkins was awarded the CBE in 1966 and he received a knighthood 10 years later. He died in the autumn of 1989.

In the 1990s Atkins made several significant acquisitions, including the project and cost management consultancy, Faithful+Gould.

After almost 60 years operating as a private company, Atkins was successfully floated on the London Stock Exchange in 1996. We are listed on the London Stock Exchange as WS Atkins plc and we trade as Atkins.

In 2009 Atkins was appointed as the official engineering design services provider for the London 2012 Games

In 2010 The PBSJ Corporation joined Atkins.

In 2013 Atkins celebrated 75 years in business.

Link to Sectors & Services page


Our Atkins film shows how we’re learning from the past to inform the present and inspire the future.

Find out more

Company overview


An introduction to Atkins and our work around the world.

View the presentation