1846-1847: Foundation of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE)

During the Autumn of 1846 it is believed that a group of engineers met to watch locomotive trials at the Lickey Incline near Bromsgrove. Here they discussed the idea of forming an Institution of Mechanical Engineers to meet the needs of what had become a burgeoning separate discipline within engineering.

Four of this group signed their names to a letter which was circulated among prospective Members. The letter invited recipients to attend a meeting at the Queen’s Hotel, Birmingham on Wednesday October 7th 1846 and stated that the aims of a new Institution would be to:

“enable Mechanics and Engineers engaged in the different Manufactories, Railways and other Establishments…to meet and correspond…to increase their knowledge and give an impulse to inventions likely to be useful to the world.”

On 27th January 1847, 56 engineers and manufacturers meet at the Queen’s Hotel, Birmingham for a General Meeting to formally found the Institution. George Stephenson was elected the Institution’s first President.

In May 1847 the Institution held its first reading of a paper for publication – William Buckle’s ‘Series of experiments relative to the fan blast’, - in what would become the Institution’s Proceedings.