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Smeatonian Society of Civil Engineers


Autumn Lunch
October 2016, Trinity House, London

Smeatonian Society of Civil Engineers - Autumn Lunch, Trinity House, Oct 2016

Smeatonian Society of Civil Engineers - Autumn Lunch, Trinity House, Oct 2016

Smeatonian Society of Civil Engineers - Autumn Lunch, Trinity House, Oct 2016  Smeatonian Society of Civil Engineers - Autumn Lunch, Trinity House, Oct 2016

Smeatonian Society of Civil Engineers - Autumn Lunch, Trinity House, Oct 2016  Smeatonian Society of Civil Engineers - Autumn Lunch, Trinity House, Oct 2016

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Trinity House

The Corporation of Trinity House grew out of a Medieval Guild of Mariners to which Henry VIII granted a charter in 1514.

Originally, The Corporation was given the duties of the defence and pilotage of The Thames. Its functions rapidly multiplied, however, and in 1566 it was granted the authority to erect and maintain Seamarks and Land Beacons around the coasts of England and to levy dues on shipping for their maintenance. The Corporation has performed these duties ever since. Today Trinity House is the General Lighthouse Authority for England, Wales and The Channel Islands and Gibraltar, maintaining 69 lighthouses, eleven light vessels and over four hundred other aids to navigation.

In its later history, Trinity House has been the great guardian of navigation - building and maintaining lighthouses and seamarks, and equipping light vessels. It maintains a close alliance with the Royal Navy in matters concerning hydrography and many other things. On the philanthropic side, it dispenses large sums in pensions and relief to distressed mariners and their dependants.

The current House on Tower Hill was built in 1796 to the designs of Samuel Wyatt but was badly damaged in 1940 and rebuilt in 1953 to the designs of Professor Sir Albert Richardson. At this time the Library was added. Trinity House was completely refurbished in 1990 and now the letting of the Ceremonial Rooms ensures the fabric of the building is maintained to the highest standard.

HRH The Princess Royal is Master of Trinity House. She succeeded her father in 2011.

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Formation of the Smeatonian Society of Civil Engineers

Long before the 1760s, there had been engineers carrying out non-military engineering works (both civil and mechanical in the modern sense). Indeed by the middle of the 18'” Century, at least a dozen engineers were well known as leaders in the design and construction of important engineering works and machinery and in progressing projects through Parliament.

Among these were Robert Mylne, an eminent bridge and canal engineer, and John Smeaton who had been born near Leeds in 1724 and had designed numerous projects including Eddystone Lighthouse and various harbours, bridges, canals and land drainage schemes. Smeaton was the first to describe himself as a “Civil Engineer” which he did in 1768 in his “Review of the Forth and Clyde Navigation”. In doing so he not only differentiated his calling from that of the military engineer but identified a new profession.

The Smeatonian Society of Civil Engineers is the oldest Society of engineers in the world and embraces engineers of all specialisations. The use of the title “Civil Engineer” on the opening page of the Minutes of the Society in 1771 marked the first formal recognition of the new profession. Founder members, together with Smeaton and Mylne, included Joseph Nickalls, John Grundy and Thomas Yeoman who was elected the first President.

The Latin motto “Thou hast ordered all things in measure and number and weight” is taken from Apocrypha, the Wisdom of Solomon, and was adopted in 1793, The Greek motto, construed to mean “By art we master what would master us”, was added in 1843.

Further information: www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smeatonian_Society_of_Civil_Engineers

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