Creating a virtual archive for the Institution of Mechanical Engineers IMechE’s Virtual Archive In conjunction with Townsweb The vast archive of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) spans over 150 years in scope and is of National importance. So we were privileged to be selected by the Institution to build a Virtual Archive portal and publish their prestigious holdings online. Above image: Napier Deltic engine, … Continue reading CREATING A DIGITAL 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 In his Presidential Address to the Institution of Locomotive Engineers in 1927 and again in 1934, Sir Nigel Gresley expressed the desirability of the … Continue reading LOCOMOTIVE TESTING

Russian commemorative stamp, 2002


When we think of snowy train journeys a romantic view of snow laden dales and trains steaming through drifts appears. However, the reality can be rather different. Perhaps no other route epitomises this battle between climate and engineering better than the Trans-Siberia Railway. In 1860 Russia’s railway network extended to 1,000 miles, by 1917 it was 45,000 miles. This huge increase was partly down to … Continue reading TRANS-SIBERIAN RAILWAY

Christian Friedrich Lautenschlager in a Mercedes in the 1914 French Grand Prix


Planes, trains and automobiles: mechanical engineering archives now online Over 1900 images from the archives and historic book collection of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) are now available online via VADS. From pictures of experimental cars, aeroplanes, engine designs, engineers portraits, railway locomotives and much more. Highlights include works of art of the Liverpool & Manchester Railway, images of Napier engines, design drawings of … Continue reading IMAGE LIBRARY ONLINE

Prosthetic Arm


Our Engineering history timeline needs you! Covering c6000 BD-2014 AD we highlight key moments of invention and leaps forward in engineering. Now, we want you to tell us what key inventions we have missed. All we need is the date of the invention etc and some brief details. Engineering has been an integral factor throughout history and a crucial instrument of change and development, from the … Continue reading ENGINEERING TIMELINE

Flying testbed B2 Canberra WK163 fitted with a NSc D1-2 Double Scorpion rechargeable booster rocket. Stamped on rear - Napier Luton Airport, Neg no 22641, and Secret.


Whether you are in Dundee, Devises, Doha or Delhi you can now gain access to key items held in the Institution of Mechanical Engineers archive collection, all for free, just by going online. Curated from our extensive physical collections, our Virtual Archive showcases a selection of models, items, drawings, notebooks, photographs and documents about the history of engineering and the Institution. We have captured 3D … Continue reading VIRTUAL ARCHIVE: ENGINEERING HISTORY ONLINE

Trevithick's steam circus


Richard Trevithick’s Catch Me Who Can Richard Trevithick (1771-1833) was an important figure in the early development of steam technology. The Catch Me Who Can was the fourth (and last) of his steam railway locomotives. Built in 1808 by Rastrick and Hazledine, it was demonstrated to the public at a “steam circus” organised by Trevithick on a circular track. His earlier contributions include the first … Continue reading CATCH ME WHO CAN

The Morning Rush from King's Cross to the North 10:15am Leeds Express 10:5am Scotch Express 10:0am Non-Stop 'Flying Scotsman' 10:20am Peterborough


‘The most famous steam locomotive in the world’ The London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) Class A3 Pacific steam locomotive No. 4472 Flying Scotsman was built in 1923 and retired 1963. Scotsman was a flagship locomotive for the LNER, it represented the company at the British Empire Exhibition in 1924 and 1925. In February 1924, it acquired its name and the number 4472; a long-haul … Continue reading SCOTSMAN FLIES AGAIN

Viaduct across the Sankey


L&MR was opened on 15 Sep 1830 between Liverpool and Manchester. It was first public transport system which did not use animal traction power and the first to provide a scheduled passenger service; although it could be argued that it was seen as even more crucial for goods to be conveyed at the time. The initial 1823 survey for the line was carried out by … Continue reading LIVERPOOL & MANCHESTER RAILWAY

Motor snow sweepers, Nottingham, 1927


It’s December, and maybe you’re dreaming of a White Christmas. But you probably don’t want that snow and ice of a white Christmas to be settling all over the railway tracks! Snowy and poor cold weather conditions have been something that trains and railways have had to contend with right from their infancy. Before the railways, heavy snowfall would be dealt with by rolling the … Continue reading LET IT SNOW