Author: Tietz, S B;Waller, J A
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Tietz, S B;Waller, J A
Wednesday 4 May 1994 is the 60th anniversary of the granting of the Royal Charter. On the day, the anniversary is being commemorated by holding a l-day seminar on the history and development of structural design at The Brewery, Chiswell Street, London EC1Y 4SD. Nine Institution Gold Medallists are participating in the seminar, and summaries of their papers are given below. The proceedings of the seminar are scheduled for publication in book form in December 1994.
The great structures I shall be discussing have been largely the works of famous engineers, but the first and most popular of all was the work of a gardener's boy on the Duke of Devonshire's estate. The Great Exhibition of 1851, inspired by the Prince Consort, was housed in the Crystal Palace in Hyde Park. This was a huge conservatory designed by Joseph Paxton, and based on an earlier one he had built at Chatsworth for the Duke of Devonshire. The Crystal Palace was 1850 ft long (three times the length of St Paul's Cathedral) and, after being opened by Queen Victoria in 1854, was visited by 6 M people in the next 24 weeks! It was then transferred to a fine site on a hill at Sydenham in south London, where it remained in good use until it was destroyed by fire in 1936. Thus was created and lost a fairy palace for the people. Professor Sir Alfred Pugsley
Although we are celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Charter being granted to the Institution, it should be remembered that the Institution started much earlier, with the formation of the Concrete Institute and the first meeting of its Council in the Smoking Room of the Ritz Hotel in July 1908. The years around the turn of the century were significant for the introduction of new materials and technologies into general UK practice, particularly reinforced concrete and steel frame buildings. It was entirely appropriate that a specialist body should be formed to meet the needs of those interested and involved in using these new methods and not surprising that the professional exchange should develop into a body for structural engineering as a whole. This came in 1922 when the Council of the Institute resolved to change the name to the Institution of Structural Engineers, with the first Council and Officers of the new-named body taking office in 1923 when the total membership was 1330.