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Institution and Engineering History

Reception c1919 Reception c1930s Reception 1899 Reception desk 1899 Library 1899 Main stairs 1899 World War I celebrations Reading room c1930s Storey'S Gate Tavern, now the site of our lefthand-side wing Working room c1930s Lecture hall c1933 Lift in the entrance, 1899 Unrealised design for the Council Room, c1933 Original library book plate Sir Nigel Gresley cartoon from an IMechE menu, 1937 Dinner invite, IMechE 75th Anniversary, 1922 Summer meeting ticket, 1859 Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee event programme, 1897 1 Birdcage Walk during WWII Inaugural meeting minutes, selecting George Stephenson as the first President, 1847 Storey's Gate as in originally appeared, 1820

Institutional History

Founded in 1847 in Birmingham we moved to our current London home in 1899, at 1 Birdcage Walk. The architect Basil Slade was responsible for both interior and exterior decoration of the main building (a wing was added in 1911), a selection of these are available online.

Basil Slade drawings

As well as caring for rare books and archives related to the history and development of mechanical engineering at 1 Birdcage Walk, since 1984 the Institution has operated the Engineering Heritage Awards.

The original statement of our purpose was "To give an impulse to invention likely to be useful to the world", which is not so different from our present mission statement to "Improving the world through engineering". Browse our Institutional Timeline to discover how we have developed.

  • 1847-1877

  • 1877-1899

  • 1909-1913

  • 1914-1945

  • 1960-present

Engineering History

The development of mechanical engineering follows that of society and our built environment. Inventions such as the bicycle revolutionised travel and allowed people to move about freely as never before, impacting on how they lived and worked. Our timeline highlights these pivotal moments, from c6000BC until the present day.

Engineering History Timeline

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© 2014 Institution of Mechanical Engineers. IMechE is a registered charity in England and Wales number 206882