|Established||27 January 1847|
|Chartered Mechanical Engineer|
|Headquarters||1 Birdcage Walk |
|120,000 (May 2018)|
|President: Peter Flinn (since June 2021)|
Chief executive: Dr Alice Bunn (since July 2021)
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,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 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 & 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.
The following are membership grades with post-nominals :
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 Whitworth Scholarship is awarded to a few promising engineers of the main engineering disciplines for the length of a degree course. On successful completion, they become Whitworth Scholars, with a medal and are entitled to use post-nominals Wh.Sch.. It was founded by Joseph Whitworth.
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.
Along with The Manufacturer, the Institution also runs The Manufacturer MX Awards,and Formula Student, the world's largest student motorsport event.
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.
|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||Carl Wilhelm Siemens||Metallurgist and electrical engineer|
|11||1874–1875||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||Isaac Lowthian Bell||Iron master|
|17||1885–1886||Jeremiah Head||Steam powered agricultural machinery|
|18||1887–1888||Edward Carbutt||Iron and steel making|
|19||1889||Charles Cochrane||Iron and steel making|
|20||1890–1891||Joseph Tomlinson||Locomotive Superintendent|
|21||1892–1893||William Anderson||Bridges and factories|
|22||1894–1895||Alexander 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||William Henry White||Naval architect|
|26||1901–1902||William 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||John Aspinall||Chief Mechanical Engineer, Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway|
|31||1911–1912||Edward B. Ellington||Hydraulic machinery|
|32||1913–1914||Hay Frederick Donaldson||Royal Ordnance|
|33||1915–1916||William 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||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|
|39||1924||William Henry Patchell||Electricity supply|
|40||1925||Vincent Raven||Chief Mechanical Engineer, North Eastern Railway|
|41||1926||William Reavell||Compressor manufacturer|
|42||1927||Henry Fowler||Chief Mechanical Engineer, Midland Railway and London Midland & 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||Nigel Gresley||Chief Mechanical Engineer, London & North Eastern Railway|
|52||1937||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||William Stanier||Chief Mechanical Engineer, London, Midland & Scottish Railway|
|57||1942||Col Stephen Joseph Thompson||Boilers|
|58||1943||Frederick Charles Lea||Engineering Professor at Birmingham and Sheffield Universities|
|59||1944||Harry Ricardo||Automotive engineer. Founder, Ricardo Consulting|
|60||1945||Andrew Robertson||Prof. Mechanical engineering at Bristol University|
|61||1946||Oliver 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||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||Robert Owen Jones||Aircraft Engineer|
|74||1959||Herbert Desmond Carter||Diesel Engines|
|75||1960||Owen Saunders||Prof. Mechanical Engineering Imperial College London|
|76||1961||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||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||Arnold Lewis George Lindley||Chairman of General Electric Company|
|84||1969||Donald Frederick Galloway||Manufacturing and machine tool engineer|
|85||1970||John Lamb Murray Morrison||Prof. Mechanical engineering Bristol University|
|86||1971||Robert Lickley||Aircraft engineer|
|87||1972||Lord Stokes||Chief executive, British Leyland|
|88||1973||John William Atwell||Steel industry and pump manufacture|
|89||1974||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||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 General Electric Company|
|100||1985||Philip Foreman||Aerospace engineer|
|101||1986||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||Thomas Diery 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||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||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||Head of Rail Accident Investigation Branch|
|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:
The Railway Division was formed in 1969 when the Institution of Locomotive Engineers amalgamated with IMechE.
The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) is an independent professional association for civil engineers and a charitable body in the United Kingdom. Based in London, ICE has over 92,000 members, of whom three-quarters are located in the UK, while the rest are located in more than 150 other countries. The ICE aims to support the civil engineering profession by offering professional qualification, promoting education, maintaining professional ethics, and liaising with industry, academia and government. Under its commercial arm, it delivers training, recruitment, publishing and contract services. As a professional body, ICE aims to support and promote professional learning, managing professional ethics and safeguarding the status of engineers, and representing the interests of the profession in dealings with government, etc. It sets standards for membership of the body; works with industry and academia to progress engineering standards and advises on education and training curricula.
Charles Frederick Beyer was a celebrated German-British locomotive designer and builder, and co-founder of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. He was the co-founder and head engineer of Beyer, Peacock and Company in Gorton, Manchester. A philanthropist and deeply religious, he founded three parish churches in Gorton, was a governor of The Manchester Grammar School, and remains the single biggest donor to what is today the University of Manchester. He is buried in the graveyard of Llantysilio Church, Llantysilio, Llangollen, Denbighshire North Wales. Llantysilio Church is within the grounds of his former 700 acre Llantysilio Hall estate. His mansion house, built 1872–1874, is nearby.
Professor Jacob Klein, former holder of the Herman Mark Chair of Polymer Physics in the Materials and Interfaces Department at the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot, Israel and Dr Lee's Professor of Chemistry at the University of Oxford, is an internationally renowned soft condensed matter, polymer and surface scientist.
The James Watt Medal is an award for excellence in engineering established in 1937, conferred by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in the United Kingdom. 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.
Christopher Malcolm Taylor is an engineer who was the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bradford, holding the post from 1 October 2001 until 30 April 2007 when he retired.
Kenneth Langstreth Johnson FRS FREng was a British engineer, Professor of Engineering at the University of Cambridge from 1977 to 1992 and a Fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge. Most of his research was in the areas of tribology and contact mechanics.
William Edgar CBE is a British mechanical engineer, who was President of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 2004.
The Engineering Heritage Awards, formally known as the Engineering Heritage Hallmark Scheme, were established by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) in 1984 to identify and promote artefacts, locations, collections and landmarks of significant engineering importance.
The Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers were first published by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) in 1847. The Proceedings were published under this single title until 1963, when they began to be published in two parts. The Proceedings have since expanded further, in part by incorporating four journals previously published separately: the Proceedings of the Institution of Automobile Engineers, the Journal of the Institution of Locomotive Engineers, the Journal of Mechanical Engineering Science and Engineering in Medicine. Sixteen individual parts now make up the Proceedings, as follows:
Duncan Dowson was a British engineer and Professor of Engineering Fluid Mechanics and Tribology at the University of Leeds.
Richard William Bailey FRS was a British mechanical engineer and research engineer.
Ward O. Winer is an American engineer, currently the Regents' Professor Emeritus at Georgia Institute of Technology. He is an Elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers, American Society for Engineering Education and ASME.
Mayo Dyer Hersey was an American engineer, physicist at the National Bureau of Standards and other government agencies, and Professor of Engineering at Brown University. He received the 1957 ASME Medal, and the first Mayo D. Hersey award in 1965.
Hugh Alexander Spikes is a British mechanical engineer. as of 2021, he is emeritus professor of tribology at Imperial College London. He is the former head of the Tribology Group at Imperial College. Tribology is the science and engineering of friction, lubrication and wear.
Bharat Bhushan is an American engineer. He is an Ohio Eminent Scholar and the Howard D. Winbigler Professor at Ohio State University.
The Whitworth Society was founded in 1923 by Henry Selby Hele-Shaw, then president of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. Its purposes are to promote engineering in the United Kingdom, and more specifically to support all Whitworth Scholars, the recipients of a scholarship funded by Joseph Whitworth's scholarship scheme, which started in 1868. A Whitworth Scholar is the result of completing a successful Whitworth Scholarship. Membership of the Society is limited to Whitworth Scholars, Senior Scholars, Fellows, Exhibitioners and Prizemen. The Society is a way for making contact with all successful "Whitworth's" and provides a way for making information contacts and connections from more senior members to recently successful Scholars. The Society also serves as a way to commemorate Joseph Whitworth and acknowledge his contributions to engineering education.
Asa Binns was a British mechanical and civil engineer. He trained with hydraulic pump and engine makers before becoming a draughtsman. Binns worked for a period at HMS Chatham Dockyard and rose to become head of their civil engineering works. He later worked on the construction of several major docks in London, including for the Port of London Authority. Binns served as president of the Institution of Engineers-in-Charge (1936–37) and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (1940). He was elected president of the Institution of Civil Engineers in 1946 but died before he could take office.
Ernest Rabinowicz (1927-2006) was an American mechanical engineer. He was known for his work in tribology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Daniele Dini FREng FIMechE CEng is an Italian/British Mechanical Engineer. He is a Professor of Tribology at Imperial College London, where he is Head of the Tribology Group. Tribology is the science and engineering of friction, lubrication and wear.