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Edgar Purnell Hooley

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Title: Edgar Purnell Hooley  
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Subject: Tarmac Group, History of road transport, Tarmac, Road transport, Coal tar
Collection: 1860 Births, 1942 Deaths, English Inventors, People from Swansea
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Edgar Purnell Hooley

Edgar Purnell Hooley

Edgar Purnell Hooley (5 June 1860 – 26 January 1942) was the founder of Tarmac plc, one of the United Kingdom's largest building materials businesses.


  • Career 1
  • Family 2
  • Publications 3
  • References 4
  • See also 5


Born in Swansea, Hooley was articled as a civil engineer to the firm of James Craik in Bristol.[1]

Hooley entered a business partnership with Francis Lean, as Architects and Surveyors at Neath, then in the county of

See also

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Hooley, Edgar Purnell (1860–1942)’, by John Sheail Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, first published September 2004
  2. ^ "Dissolution of partnership with Francis Lean", The London Gazette (25015), September 16, 1881: 4735, retrieved 23 June 2010 
  3. ^ a b Ralph Morton (2002), Construction UK: Introduction to the Industry, Oxford: Blackwell Science, p. 51,  . (Details of this story vary a bit, but the essence of is the same, as are the basic facts).
  4. ^ Harrison, Ian (2004), The Book of Inventions, Washington, DC:  
  5. ^ E.P. Hooley (26 July 1904), Apparatus for the Preparation of Tar Macadam (PDF), US Patent No. 765,975, retrieved 22 June 2010 
  6. ^ ) Battalion"Robin Hood (Nottinghamshire"Edgar Purnell Hooley, Gent., to be Second Lieutenant in ,  
  7. ^ "Hooley to Lieutenant", The London Gazette (26524), 22 June 1894: 3577, retrieved 23 June 2010 
  8. ^ "Hooley to Captain", The London Gazette (26805), 22 December 1896: 7548, retrieved 23 June 2010 
  9. ^ "Hooley resigns Commission in Nottinghamshire (Robin Hood) Battalion", The London Gazette (27419), March 25, 1902: 2083, retrieved 24 June 2010 
  10. ^ "Hooley to Quartermaster & Honorary Captain, in 8th Battalion, The Sherwood Foresters (Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment)",  
  11. ^ "Hooley transfers to Territorial Force Reserve", Supplement to The London Gazette (29469), 10 February 1916: 1584, retrieved 23 June 2010 
  12. ^ "Hooley retires from military", Supplement to The London Gazette (32103), 28 October 1920: 10400, retrieved 23 June 2010 
  13. ^ Roots Web
  14. ^ Ballen, Dorothy (1914), Bibliography of Road-making and Roads in the United Kingdom, London: P.S. King & Son, pp. 17, 81, 170, 180, 181, 184, 208, 212, 221, (n38, 107, 191, 201, 202, 205, 229, 233, 242 in electronic page field), retrieved 22 June 2010 . (Full text at Internet Archive. Entering "Hooley" into search field brings up page links).


  • . (1890), "Maintenance of main roads and county management", Association of Municipal and Sanitary Engineers and Surveyors, Proceedings, Vol. 16: 174–201 
  • . (August 10, 1890), "Main road maintenance", Engineering Record 
  • . (1895), Management of highways 
  • .(1896), Steam rolling; with discussion. Association of Municipal and County Engineers and Surveyors, Proceedings. Vol. 22, pp. 284–308. Surveyor, July 17, 1896
  • .(1899), Notes on the Locomotives Act, 1898: with discussion. Association of Municipal and Sanitary Engineers and Surveyors, Proceedings. Vol. 25, pp. 84–103. Surveyor, Jan. 27, 1899.
  • . (1907), "Road requirements", Association of Municipal and Sanitary Engineers and Surveyors, Proceedings 33: 277–286  Summary in Surveyor July 5, 1907.
  • .(1908), Modern road management. International Roads Congress; Summarised in Municipal Journal, Oct 16; Engineering Record, Nov. 7, 1908.
  • . (Sep 24, 1909), "Tar and its uses in modern road construction", Canadian Engineer 
  • . (Apr 15, 1910), "Modern road repairs", Surveyor 

The following is a list of known publications by Hooley.[14]


In 1884 Hooley married Matilda Fanny Stallard and together they went on to have two sons and two daughters, one of whom lived to be a centenarian.[13]


Hooley died at his home in Oxford in 1942.[1]

Hooley also undertook some military service, attaining the rank of Second Lieutenant in the 1st Nottinghamshire (Robin Hood) battalion on 12 March 1892,[6] then Lieutenant on 23 June 1894,[7] and Captain on 23 December 1896.[8] He resigned this Commission on 26 March 1902.[9] On 7 October 1914, Hooley transferred from the Territorial Force Reserve to the 8th Battalion, of The Sherwood Foresters (Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment) with the rank of Quartermaster and Honorary Captain.[10] He subsequently transferred back to the Territorial Force Reserve.[11] On 29 October 1920, Hooley attained the age limit for retirement, and retired, retaining the rank of Quartermaster and Captain.[12]

Hooley's company was bought out by the Wolverhampton MP, Sir Alfred Hickman, who was also the owner of a steelworks which produced large quantities of waste slag.[1] The Tarmac company was relaunched by Hickman in 1905.[1][3]

He called his company, which he registered in 1903, Tar Macadam (Purnell Hooley's Patent) Syndicate Limited, but unfortunately he had trouble selling his product as he was not an experienced businessman.[1] On 26 July 1904, Hooley obtained a US patent for an apparatus for the preparation of tar macadam, intended as an improvement to existing methods of preparing tar macadam.[5]

In his capacity as the County Surveyor, Hooley was passing a tarworks in 1901 when he noticed that a barrel of tar had been spilled on the roadway and that, in an attempt to reduce the mess, someone had dumped gravel on top of it. The area was remarkably dust-free compared to the surrounding road, and it inspired Hooley to develop and patent Tarmac in Britain,[1][3] in 1902 (GB 7796).[4]

[1] in 1889.Nottinghamshire County Council He was appointed County Surveyor to [1] Highway Board.Maidstone Highway Board and in 1884 he took up a similar position with the Stow-on-the-Wold with surveyor Also in 1881, he became [2]

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