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Sat June 19 2021

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UNESCO recognition for ICE archives

11 Jul 13 Membership records contained in the historic archives of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) are to be inscribed in the UNESCO Memory of the World Register in recognition of their international importance.

The ICE library at Great George Street
The ICE library at Great George Street

UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) said that ICE’s membership application certificates provide “a unique biographical record of engineers which chronicles their role in shaping civilization, providing a socio-economic insight into their backgrounds. Certificates record personal contributions to what has become known as the Industrial Revolution and the infrastructure of the modern world.”

The Memory of the World Programme seeks to preserve the world's documentary heritage, keeping it protected and accessible to all.

The ICE collection comprises 93 volumes containing signed application forms of all ICE members submitted between 1818 and 1930. These provide biographical information, education and career details for 18,889 civil engineers who worked all over the world from 1800-1960.

Records of some of the most recognised and celebrated civil engineers such as Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Robert Stephenson and John Frederick Bateman are included.

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ICE director of engineering, policy and innovation Mike Chrimes said: “This collection is irreplaceable – there is no other comprehensive and permanent record of British civil engineers in this period. This recognition from UNESCO is testimony to that and we are delighted to have our records inscribed in the Memory of the World Register.  

He added: “The certificates record personal contributions to what has become known as the Industrial Revolution and the infrastructure of the modern world. They also record the training and experiences of our members prior to ICE membership. As such, the collection reflects the development of professionalism and innovation and records the creative talents of what has become the modern engineering profession.”

Last month a collection of civil and mechanical engineering membership records dating from 1820 to 1930 were also launched on family history website Ancestry.co.uk, the world's largest online family history resource. The engineering collection comprises of almost 100,000 records from the ICE and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and contains member photographs, educational details and career achievements.

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