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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.
Structural engineers were one of the first construction industry professionals to make use of the computer. It was in the late 1950s they first attempted equation solution. It took until the early ‘60s to build up demand to a level that prompted purchase of inhouse facilities. At first there were terminals to bureaus. Then, small stand-alone computers with paper tape input and output. The output tape was fed through a teletype to produce a hard copy. Minicomputers came into existence in the late ’60s. These machines were capable of expansion to accommodate extra ports for the connection of dumb terminals. After the large engineering timesharing computers came the era of the engineering Workstation - self-contained, powerful systems with good graphics capabilities. D.H. Taffs
Structural engineering as a separate branch of civil engineering owes its advent early this century to the specialised knowledge required to design structures and, in particular, reinforced concrete structures. S.B. Tietz and J.A. Waller