Impulse To Innovation

Season 3 Episode 1: Happy 175th Anniversary IMechE! - Looking Forward to the Year Ahead

February 7, 2022

Welcome to the first episode of Impulse to Innovation 2022!

This year the I2I podcast will be focusing on the Institution’s key themes of climate change, infection control, transport and education and how mechanical engineers help to solve the global challenges facing society today, and in the future.

Helen will also be out and about with some more live streaming shows at the Institution’s challenge competitions throughout the year and will be sharing exciting engineering innovation from members around the world. 

But 2022 is extra special for the Institution as we are 175 years old this year.



Useful Links

IMechE 175 Hub 

Patrick Vallance Lecture

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How it all began

In the autumn of 1846 a group of engineers met to watch locomotive trials at the Lickey Incline near Bromsgrove. Here they discussed the idea of forming an Institution of Mechanical Engineers to meet the needs of what had become a burgeoning separate discipline within engineering. Four of this group - Edward Humphrys, Archibald Slate, James McConnell and Charles Beyer - signed their names to a letter which was circulated among prospective Members. The letter invited recipients to attend a meeting at the Queen’s Hotel, Birmingham on Wednesday October 7th 1846.

The result of this meeting was the formation of a committee to draw up and agree the rules and regulations of the new Institution. On 27th January 1847, 56 engineers and manufacturers meet at the Queen’s Hotel, Birmingham for a General Meeting to formally found the Institution. George Stephenson was elected the Institution’s first President. By 1848 there were over 162 members.  One Birdcage Walk was officially opened on 16-17 May 1899, celebrated by a two-day conference for members and 750 guests.


Lucy Bonner reading the invitational letter to the first IMechE meeting in Bromsgrove 1846


Today we are a global community of mechanical engineers represented in over 140 countries; largest network of mechanical engineering knowledge, skill and opportunity in the world. 


In this months episode Helen's guests are Lucy Bonner, Institution Archivist, Paul Jones Technical Strategy Board Chair and past chair of the Automotive Division and Jo Horton, Member Operations Director.


We would love to hear your thoughts and comments on this episode. If you would like to get in touch, email us at

You can find more information about the work of the IMechE at