Carling’s slide collection is now available on our Virtual Archive. Here at the Institution, we have recently finished cataloguing the papers of Denis Rock Carling, Superintendent of the Rugby Locomotive Testing Station (LTS). If you are interested in researching our Carling papers, or any other collections, please email us at archive@imeche.org Some of the images can be seen here. In his Presidential Address to the Institution … Continue reading LOCOMOTIVE TESTING

WWI engineering workshop


This week marks 100 years since (some) women got the vote in this country. It is also 100 years since a woman first presented a paper at the Institution. Olive Monkhouse talked about The Employment of Women in Munitions Factories. World War I brought with it a huge increase in demand for munitions, at the same time the workforce was reduced by men signing up … Continue reading EMPOWERING WOMEN



The modern engineer can research and record engineering ideas using mobile devices and camera phones, as well as more traditional methods. In the 19th century engineers carried notebooks and a pencil to sketch designs on the move.  A man who exemplifies the image of the Victorian engineer as artist is David Joy, born in Leeds in 1825.  A collection of his drawings and his diary … Continue reading DAVID JOY

24-hour endurance record, SF Edge


At the turn of the twentieth century, motor-racing was fraught with danger.  Races took place on the long, straight, main roads between cities and were impossible to police.  Hazards included spectators on the road, non-race traffic and poor quality roads.  The particularly disastrous 1903 Paris to Madrid race almost ended the sport, when as many as ten casualties (among both participants and spectators) led to … Continue reading GORDON BENNETT!

Clearing up in the town of Soissons after bombing, September 1914 (photo by Fred Davidson)


Andrew Davidson’s grandfather, Fred, took into the trenches with him a foldable camera. The small, portable, foldable camera was one of the great advances in technology that followed the Edwardian era. For young men obsessed with the latest ‘gadgets’ in an age of invention – motorbikes, cars, planes – it became an affordable must-have, with its ability to take snapshots quickly on small rolls of … Continue reading PHOTOGRAPHY IN THE TRENCHES

Latest project before painting.


Cherry Hinds Hill is a well-known name to those in the model engineering world and her models are considered remarkable for their quality. The Duke of Edinburgh Challenge Trophy and the Championship Cup has been won by Cherry 9 times. Yet she has always maintained a low profile-she has allowed her work to speak for her. Cherry’s models are based on both historic working engines … Continue reading CHERRY HILL


Henry Davies, work experience student, reviews a book from the library’s Archive Gallery. Jet Flight, John Grierson, 1946 On my work experience at the IMechE I spent a day in the library and for part of the day I was privileged enough to visit the upper level of the library where I found and read a number of very interesting books from the dawn of … Continue reading BOOK REVIEW: Jet Flight


Kitty May Brunell was one of a clutch of women motorsport riders in the 1920s-1930s. Born in 1911, Kitty grew up surrounded by racing. Her father was Bill Brunell (officially William Joseph Brunell), a well-known photographer of motorsports. Her mother was Katie Margaret Meech. Brunell officially began rallying in 1928, she was only seventeen at the time, but it seems she stopped around 1933. Despite … Continue reading WOMEN RIDERS

Ambulance car in ditch (Paul Cadbury papers)


“Altogether the Buicks (the last model of ambulance they used, presumably supplied by the Americans) gave good service, but I shudder to think what would have happened had the war lasted another year. Two years would seem to be about the maximum with an American chassis over war time roads.” When we think of engineering and engineers in the context of war, normally we conjure … Continue reading FRIENDS AMBULANCE UNIT


In the Archive at IMechE we have several letters by Bessemer, available to researchers. One discusses the affinity of phosphorus and iron and the separation of the two. Email us to enquire. He became a member of IMechE in 1861. Bessemer is most widely known for the process named for him. Born in Hertfordshire in 1813 to a French engineer father, he showed an interest … Continue reading SIR HENRY BESSEMER