|Established||27 January 1847|
|Chartered Mechanical Engineer|
|Headquarters||1 Birdcage Walk|
|120,000 (May 2018)|
|President: Terry Spall (June 2020)|
Chief executive: Dr Colin Brown (August 2018)
The Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) is an independent professional association and learned society headquartered in London, United Kingdom, that represents mechanical engineers and the engineering profession. With over 120,000 members in 140 countries, working across industries such as railways, automotive, aerospace, manufacturing, energy, biomedical and construction, the Institution is licensed by the Engineering Council to assess candidates for inclusion on its Register of Chartered Engineers, Incorporated Engineers and Engineering Technicians.
The Institution was founded at the Queen's Hotel, Birmingham, by George Stephenson in 1847. It received a Royal Charter in 1930. The Institution's headquarters, purpose-built for the Institution in 1899, is situated at No. 1 Birdcage Walk in central London.
Informal meetings are said to have taken place in 1846, at locomotive designer Charles Beyer's house in Cecil Street, Manchester,[a] or alternatively at Bromsgrove at the house of James McConnell, after viewing locomotive trials at the Lickey Incline. Beyer, Richard Peacock, George Selby, Archibald Slate and Edward Humphrys were present. Bromsgrove seems the more likely candidate for the initial discussion, not least because McConnell was the driving force in the early years. A meeting took place at the Queen's Hotel in Birmingham to consider the idea further on 7 October and a committee appointed with McDonnell at its head to see the idea to its inauguration.
The Institution of Mechanical Engineers was then founded on 27 January 1847, in the Queen's Hotel next to Curzon Street station in Birmingham by the railway pioneer George Stephenson and others. McConnnell became the first chairman. The founding of the Institution was said by Stephenson's biographer Samuel Smiles to have been spurred by outrage that Stephenson, the most famous mechanical engineer of the age, had been refused admission to the Institution of Civil Engineers unless he sent in "a probationary essay as proof of his capacity as an engineer". However, this account has been challenged as part of a pattern of exaggeration on Smiles' part aimed at glorifying the struggles that various Victorian mechanical engineers had to overcome in their personal efforts to attain greatness. Though there was certainly coolness between Stephenson and the Institution of Civil Engineers, it is more likely that the motivation behind the founding of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers was simply the need for a specific home for the growing number of mechanical engineers employed in the burgeoning railway and manufacturing industries.
Beyer proposed that George Stephenson become the Institution's first president in 1847, followed by his son, Robert Stephenson, in 1849. Beyer became vice-president and was one of the first to present papers to the Institution; Charles Geach was the first treasurer. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries some of Britain's most notable engineers held the position of president, including Joseph Whitworth, Carl Wilhelm Siemens and Sir Harry Ricardo. It operated from premises in Birmingham until 1877 when it moved to London, taking up its present headquarters on Birdcage Walk in 1899.
Upon its move to London in 1877 the Institution rented premises at No. 10 Victoria Chambers, where it remained for 20 years. In 1895 the Institution bought a plot of land at Storey's Gate, on the eastern end of Birdcage Walk, for £9,500. Architect Basil Slade looked to the newly-completed Admiralty buildings facing the site for inspiration. The building was designed in the Queen Anne, 'streaky bacon', style in red brick and Portland stone. Inside, there were several features that were state of the art for the time, including a telephone, a 54-inch fan in the lecture theatre for driving air into the building, an electric lift from the Otis Elevator Company, and a Synchronome master-clock, which controlled all house timepieces. In 1933 architect James Miller, who also designed the neighbouring Institution of Civil Engineers, remodelled the building, expanding the library and introducing electric lighting.
The building would go on to host the first public presentation of Frank Whittle's jet engine in 1945. In 1943 it became the venue for the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers' planning of Operation Overlord and the invasion of Normandy.
Today No. 1 Birdcage Walk hosts events, lectures, seminars and meetings in 17 conference and meeting rooms named after notable former members of the Institution, such as Whittle, Stephenson and Charles Parsons.
Membership grades and post-nominals
The following are membership grades with post-nominals :
- Affiliate: (no post-nominal) The grade for students, apprentices and those interested in or involved in mechanical engineering who do not meet the requirements for the following grades.
- AMIMechE: Associate Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers: this is the grade for graduates (of acceptable degrees or equivalents in engineering, mathematics or science)
- MIMechE: Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. For those who meet the educational and professional requirements for registration as a Chartered Mechanical Engineer (CEng, MIMechE) and also as a Chartered Engineer (CEng) or Incorporated Engineer (IEng) or Engineering Technician (EngTech) in mechanical engineering.
- FIMechE: Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. This is the highest class of elected membership, and is awarded to individuals who have demonstrated exceptional commitment to and innovation in mechanical engineering.
The James Watt International Medal is an award for excellence in engineering established in 1937 by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. It is named after Scottish engineer James Watt (1736-1819) who developed the Watt steam engine in 1781, which was fundamental to the changes brought by the Industrial Revolution in both his native Great Britain and the rest of the world.
The Engineering Heritage Awards were created in 1984 to help recognise and promote the value of artefacts, locations, collections and landmarks of significant engineering importance.
The Tribology Gold Medal is awarded each year for outstanding and supreme achievement in the field of tribology. It is funded from The Tribology Trust Fund. It was established and first awarded in 1972. As of 2017, it has been awarded to 39 individuals from 12 different countries.
|1997||Bo O. Jacobson||Sweden|
|1996||Virgiliu N. Constantinescu||Romania|
|1995||Stanislaw J. Pytko||Poland|
|1992||Herbert S. Cheng||USA|
|1991||Avtandil V. Chichinadze||USSR|
|1986||Ward O. Winer||USA|
|1985||Kenneth L. Johnson||UK|
|1982||Georgi V. Vinogradov||USSR|
|1980||Mylon E. Merchant||USA|
|1978||D. D. Fuller||USA|
|1977||Frederick T. Barwell||UK|
|1976||Robert L. Johnson||USA|
|1975||Igor V. Kragelski||USSR|
|1974||Mayo D. Hersey||USA|
As of 2020[update], there have been 135 presidents of the Institution, who since 1922 have been elected annually for one year. The first president was George Stephenson, followed by his son Robert. Prior to 2018, Joseph Whitworth, John Penn and William Armstrong were the only presidents to have served two terms.
Pamela Liversidge in 1997 became the first female president; Professor Isobel Pollock became the second in 2012 and Carolyn Griffiths became the third in 2017.
List of presidents
|No||Years||Name||Sphere of influence|
|1||1847–1848||George Stephenson||railway engineer|
|2||1849–1853||Robert Stephenson||railway engineer, MP|
|3||1854–1855||William Fairbairn||manufacturer, trader, ironmaster, bridge, mill wheels, ships, later made baronet.|
|4||1856–1857||Joseph Whitworth (First term)||pioneer of machine tools, precision engineering|
|5||1858–1859||John Penn (First term)||Marine Steam engines|
|6||1860||James Kennedy||Marine engines and locomotives|
|7||1861–1862||William George Armstrong (First term)||Industrialist and inventor, primarily of armaments. Pioneer of domestic electricity|
|8||1863–1865||Robert Napier||Ship building and Marine engines|
|4||1865–1866||Joseph Whitworth (Second term)||pioneer of machine tools, precision engineering|
|5||1866–1868||John Penn (Second term)||Marine Steam Engines|
|7||1868–1869||William George Armstrong (Second term)||Industrialist and inventor, primarily of armaments. Pioneer of domestic electricity|
|9||1870–1871||John Ramsbottom||railway engineer|
|10||1872–1873||Sir William Siemens||Metallurgist and electrical engineer|
|11||1874–1875||Sir Frederick Joseph Bramwell||Steam engines and boilers|
|12||1876–1877||Thomas Hawksley||water and gas engineer|
|13||1878–1879||John Robinson||Steam Engines|
|14||1880–1881||Edward Alfred Cowper||Metallurgist, inventor of Cowper pot|
|15||1882–1883||Percy G. B. Westmacott||Hydraulic machinery|
|16||1884||Sir Isaac Lowthian Bell||Iron master|
|17||1885–1886||Jeremiah Head||Steam powered agricultural machinery|
|18||1887–1888||Edward Hamer Carbutt||Iron and steel making|
|19||1889||Charles Cochrane||Iron and steel making|
|20||1890–1891||Joseph Tomlinson||Locomotive Superintendent|
|21||1892–1893||Sir William Anderson||Bridges and factories|
|22||1894–1895||Prof. Alexander Blackie William Kennedy||Professor of engineering, University College London|
|23||1896–1897||Edward Windsor Richards||Iron master|
|24||1898||Samuel Waite Johnson||Chief Mechanical Engineer, Midland Railway|
|25||1899–1900||Sir William Henry White||Naval architect|
|26||1901–1902||William Henry Maw||Editor, Engineering|
|27||1903–1904||Joseph Hartley Wicksteed||Testing machines and machine tools|
|28||1905–1906||Edward Pritchard Martin||Iron and steel making|
|29||1907–1908||Tom Hurry Riches||Chief engineer, Taff Vale Railway|
|30||1909–1910||Sir John Audley Frederick Aspinall||Chief Mechanical Engineer, Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway|
|31||1911–1912||Edward B. Ellington||Hydraulic machinery|
|32||1913–1914||Sir Hay Frederick Donaldson||Royal Ordnance|
|33||1915–1916||William Cawthorne Unwin||oil engine research|
|34||1917–1918||Michael Longridge||Chief Engineer|
|35||1919||Edward Hopkinson||Electric Traction. Died during year of office|
|36||1920–1921||Cpt Matthew Henry Phineas Riall Sankey||Military engineering, oil engines and wireless telegraphy|
|37||1922||Dr Henry Selby Hele-Shaw||Prof. Mechanical Engineering at Liverpool University|
|38||1923||Sir John Dewrance||Inventor|
|39||1924||William Henry Patchell||Electricity supply|
|40||1925||Sir Vincent Raven||Chief Mechanical Engineer, North Eastern Railway|
|41||1926||Sir William Reavell||Compressor manufacturer|
|42||1927||Sir Henry Fowler||Chief Mechanical Engineer, Midland Railway and London Midland and Scottish Railway|
|43||1928||Richard William Allen||Pumps and Marine equipment|
|44||1929||Daniel Adamson||Gears, cranes and cutting tools|
|45||1930||Loughnan St Lawrence Pendred||Editor of The Engineer|
|46||1931||Edwin Kitson Clark||Locomotive Engineer|
|47||1932||William Taylor||Lens Manufacturing|
|48||1933||Alan Ernest Leofric Chorlton||Pumps and Diesel engines, MP|
|49||1934||Charles Day||Steam and diesel engines|
|50||1935||Major-General Alexander Elliott Davidson||Mechanised military transport|
|51||1936||Sir Nigel Gresley||Chief Mechanical Engineer, London and North Eastern Railway|
|52||1937||Sir John Edward Thornycroft||Ship building and motor vehicle design|
|53||1938||David E Roberts||Iron and steel manufacture|
|54||1939||E. Bruce Ball||Motor Vehicles and hydraulic valves|
|56||1941||Sir William Stanier||Chief Mechanical Engineer, London, Midland and Scottish Railway|
|57||1942||Col Stephen Joseph Thompson||Boilers|
|58||1943||Frederick Charles Lea||Engineering Professor at Birmingham and Sheffield Universities|
|59||1944||Sir Harry Ralph Ricardo||Automotive engineer. Founder, Ricardo Consulting|
|60||1945||Andrew Robertson||Prof. Mechanical engineering at Bristol University|
|61||1946||Oliver Vaughan Snell Bulleid||Chief Mechanical Engineer, Southern Railway|
|62||1947||Lord Dudley Gordon||Refrigeration engineering|
|63||1948||E. William Gregson||Marine engines|
|64||1949||Herbert John Gough||Metal Fatigue, Engineering Research|
|65||1950||Stanley Fabes Dorey||Chief Engineer Surveyor|
|66||1951||Arthur Clifford Hartley||Chief engineer, Anglo-Iranian Oil Co. Inventor, Pluto and Fido|
|67||1952||Sir David Randall Pye||Air Ministry research engineer|
|68||1953||Alfred Roebuck||Engineering metallurgy|
|69||1954||Richard William Bailey||High temperature steel and materials research|
|70||1955||Percy Lewis Jones||Marine engines and ship building|
|71||1956||Thomas Arkle Crowe||Marine Engines|
|72||1957||George Nelson||Chairman English Electric|
|73||1958||Air Marshal Sir Robert Owen Jones||Aircraft Engineer|
|74||1959||Herbert Desmond Carter||Diesel Engines|
|75||1960||Sir Owen Alfred Saunders||Prof. Mechanical Engineering Imperial College|
|76||1961||Sir Charles Hague||Chairman, Babcock & Wilcox|
|77||1962||John Hereward Pitchford||Internal Combustion engines|
|78||1963||Roland Curling Bond||Chief Mechanical Engineer, British Railways|
|79||1964||Vice-Admiral Sir Frank Mason||Engineer in chief, Royal Navy|
|80||1965||Harold Norman Gwynne Allen||Power Transmission|
|81||1966||Lord Hinton of Bankside||Pioneer of nuclear power|
|82||1967||Hugh Graham Conway||Aero-engines and gas turbines|
|83||1968||Sir Arnold Lewis George Lindley||Chairman of GEC|
|84||1969||Donald Frederick Galloway||Manufacturing and machine tool engineer|
|85||1970||John Lamb Murray Morrison||Prof. Mechanical engineering Bristol University|
|86||1971||Robert Lang Lickley||Aircraft engineer|
|87||1972||Lord Stokes||Chief executive, British Leyland|
|88||1973||Sir John William Atwell||Steel industry and pump manufacture|
|89||1974||Sir St John de Hold Elstub||Metals|
|90||1975||Paul Thomas Fletcher||Process plan and nuclear power plant|
|91||1976||Ewen McEwen||Chief engineer, Lucas|
|92||1977||Sir Hugh Ford||Professor of mechanical engineering, Imperial College London|
|93||1978||Diarmuid Downs||Internal combustion engines|
|94||1979||James Gordon Dawson||Chief Engineer, Shell|
|95||1980||Bryan Hildrew||Managing Director, Lloyd's Register of Shipping|
|96||1981||Francis David Penny||Director, National Engineering Laboratory|
|97||1982||Victor John Osola/Vaino Junani Osola||Process engineer, safety glass|
|98||1983||George Fritz Werner Adler||Research Director, British Hydromechanical Research Association|
|99||1984||Waheeb Rizk||Gas turbines at GEC|
|100||1985||Sir Philip Foreman||Aerospace engineer|
|101||1986||Sir Bernard Crossland||Prof. Mechanical Engineering, Queen's University Belfast|
|102||1987||Oscar Roith||Chief Engineer, Department of Industry|
|103||1988||Cecil Charles John French||Internal combustion engines|
|104||1989||Roy Ernest James Roberts||Director, GKN|
|105||1990||Michael John Neale||Tribology|
|106||1991||Duncan Dowson||Prof of Fluid Mechanics, Leeds University, Tribology|
|107||1992||Tom D. Patten||Offshore engineering|
|108||1993||Anthony Albert Denton||Offshore engineering|
|109||1994||Brian Hamilton Kent||Design and engineering management|
|110||1995||Frank Christopher Price||Technical director|
|111||1996||Robert William Ernest Shannon||Inspection engineering|
|112||1997||Pamela Liversidge||Powder metallurgy|
|115||2000||Denis E. Filer||Automotive|
|117||2002||John McDougall||MD of WS Atkins|
|119||2004||William Edgar||Offshore engineering|
|120||2005||Andrew Ives||Automobile engine electronics|
|121||2006||W. Alec Osborn MBE||Automotive|
|122||2007||John Baxter||Nuclear engineer|
|123||2008||William M. Banks||Composite materials. Professor, University of Strathclyde|
|126||2011||Roderick Smith||Rail engineer|
|127||2012||Isobel Pollock||Engineering management|
|128||2013||Patrick Kniveton||Nuclear Engineering - Rolls Royce|
|129||2014||Group Captain Mark Hunt OBE||RAF Engineer Officer, Engineering Management, Engineering Education|
|130||2015||Professor Richard Folkson||Chief Engineer of Ford of Europe, lecturer at University of Hertfordshire|
|131||2016||Jon Hilton||Kinetic energy recovery system pioneer, Deputy Chairman of Torotrak PLC|
|132||2017||Carolyn Griffiths||Railway and Railway Accident Investigation|
|133||2018†||Geoff Baker||Oil and Gas|
|116||2018†||Tony Roche (Second term)||Railway|
|135||2020||Terry Spall||Automotive Engineer|
† Baker resigned in June 2018. The Institution's by-laws state that a casual vacancy for President shall be filled by appointing a Past President to the role; Tony Roche was elected and duly took up office for a second term in August of that year.
The Institution of Mechanical Engineers has a number of committees that work to promote and develop thought leadership in different industry sectors. The Institution has 8 divisions: - Aerospace, Automobile, Biomedical Engineering Association, Construction & Building Services, Manufacturing Industries, Power Industries, Process Industries and Railway.
Biomedical Engineering Association (BmEA) aims to bring together key workers from both medicine and engineering to discuss the latest advances and issues, to enable networking among different industry leaders, and to promote the field of Medical Engineering, also known as Bioengineering or Biomedical Engineering, to government, healthcare professionals and the wider public. This committee offers:
- seminars, lectures and conferences every year;
- the Journal of Engineering in Medicine;
- the annual Student Project Competition.
The Railway Division was formed in 1969 when the Institution of Locomotive Engineers amalgamated with IMechE.
- James Watt International Medal
- Chartered Engineer
- Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers
- Pullin 1997, p. 2 quotes a leaflet from the opening of Birdcage Walk in 1899
- Awdry 1981
- Pullin 1997, p. 2
- Watson 1988, pp. 33–34
- Cragg 1997, p. 194; Watson 1988, pp. 33–34
- Pullin 1997, p. 3
- Pullin 1997, p. 4
- "Beyer proposing Stephen as President".
- "Grace's Guide; Charles Beyer Obituary 1887".
- The Manufacturer MX Awards
- "Tribology Gold Medal Institution of Mechanical Engineers". www.imeche.org. Retrieved 2019-07-08.
- "All Tribology Gold Medal Laureates | Institution of Mechanical Engineers". www.imeche.org. Retrieved 2019-07-08.
- Bond R.C. "A Lifetime With Locomotives", Goose & Son 1980
- "Biography of William Edgar CBE" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2005-03-30.
- "Biography of Andrew P Ives" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-05-13.
- "Presidential addresses". Institution of Mechanical Engineers. Retrieved 13 January 2011.
- IMechE Professor Isobel A Pollock 127th President of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers
- IMechE Professor Patrick Kniveton 128th President of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers
- "Message from the Trustee Board". www.imeche.org. Retrieved 2018-08-02.
- https://www.imeche.org/news/news-article/tony-roche-becomes-institution-s-new-president Tony Roche becomes Institution’s new President
- IMechE industries page
- IMechE railway page
- Pullin, John (1997). Progress through Mechanical Engineering. Quiller Press. ISBN 1-899163-28-X.
- Cragg, Roger (1997). Civil Engineering Heritage: Wales and West Central England: Wales and West Central England, 2nd Edition. Thomas Telford. ISBN 0-7277-2576-9.
- Watson, Garth (1988). The civils: the story of the Institution of Civil Engineers. Thomas Telford Limited. ISBN 978-0727703927.
- Awdry, Rev W (1981). "Bromsgrove and the Lickey Incline: the railway revolution". In Foster, John (ed.). Bygone Bromsgrove: an illustrated story of the town in days gone by. Bromsgrove Society. ISBN 9780950947143. OL 19606374M.