Templer & Parlby: eighteenth century contractor
- Author: S. Drabble 1
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- Source: Proceedings of the ICE - Engineering History and Heritage, Volume 163, Issue 3, 01 August 2010 , pages 189 –198
James Templer (1722–1782) and Thomas Parlby (1727–1802) were men of humble origin who became prominent contractors in the second half of the eighteenth century, working mainly, though not exclusively, in the royal dockyards for the Navy Board. Over 40 projects have been attributed to them or to one of their constituent organisations. England's quest for maritime supremacy throughout the eighteenth century led to an expansion in the royal dockyards, requiring large-scale civil engineering and building projects. These were undertaken variously by dockyard workers or by external contractors or, sometimes, both working together. Templer, a house carpenter and Parlby, a stonemason, emerged from the ranks of artisans to create a large and effective workforce operating across the south of England. Between them, they acquired properties in London, Middlesex, Kent, Hampshire, Wiltshire, Dorset and Devon. Although their businesses brought them wealth and social standing, their interests were not pursued by later generations of either family and their firms shrank into obscurity after 1802.