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Event Organiser: ICE

Smeaton Lecture 2019, London

  • Lecture
  • London
  • 23 July 2019
  • 18:15 - 21:00
Smeaton Lecture 2019, London

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Smeaton and Watt: unleashing the power that changed the world

The 18th century saw unprecedented advances in our ability to harness power. Much of this was down to James Watt whose invention of the separate condenser and other improvements to the Newcomen engine was the key that unlocked the full potential of the power of steam. Watt then mastered rotative power for factories, accelerating the industrial revolution. Smeaton had also made improvements to the Newcomen engine and he and Watt shared a mutual respect.

This year’s Smeaton lecture will explore this relationship with the help of some letters, not previously published or archived, and uses engineering hindsight to explore the factors influencing successful innovation – then and now.

Delegates will: 

  • Get an improved understanding of the context and conditions for innovation in the 18th century
  • Hear new insights into 18th century support networks and communities of practice for engineering
  • Better understand the incentives for transformational change to infrastructure
  • Learn about the value of engineering hindsight and why hindsight remains important today

The lecture will be followed by a drinks reception offering delegates the opportunity to network and continue the discussions.

Book now to secure your place at this popular event.

Sponsored by:

Tony Gee


18:15 Registration and refreshments
18:45 Chair’s opening remarks
18:50 Lecture
19:35 Q&A and discussion
19:55 Vote of thanks
20:00 Drinks reception
21:00 Event closes


Gordon Masterton, Past President, ICE

Gordon is a civil and structural engineer and was appointed to the Chair of Future Infrastructure at the University of Edinburgh in September 2015.

He was President of the Institution of Civil Engineers (2005-06). In 2008 he was awarded an OBE for services to civil engineering. He is Chairman of the ICE’s Panel for Historical Engineering Works.

Gordon was formerly a Vice President of Jacobs and was the UK Government’s Project Representative for Crossrail (2009-13).

He has also served as Chairman of the Construction Industry Council (2009-11), President of the Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland (2009-11) and as Vice Chairman of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (2002-15). He launched the Scottish Engineering Hall of Fame in 2011. He chaired the ICE/IStructE/HSE Standing Committee on Structural Safety from 2009-16. He is Middle Warden of the Worshipful Company of Engineers and Deacon of the Hammermen of Glasgow.

Chair: Andrew Wyllie, President, ICE

Andrew is Chief Executive of Costain Group PLC, one of the UK's leading engineering solution providers. Prior to taking up this role in 2005, he worked for Taylor Woodrow where he was Managing Director of the construction business and was a member of the Group Executive Committee. He worked for several years on a variety of major contracts in Saudi Arabia, Ghana, the Falklands and Malaysia, as well as projects in the United Kingdom.

In addition, Andrew is a Non-Executive Director on the Board of Yorkshire Water and was previously a Non-Executive Director of Scottish Water. Andrew has an MBA from London Business School, is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Institution of Civil Engineers, the Institute of Directors and the British American Project. He is also a member of the CBI Infrastructure Board and a Companion of the Chartered Management Institute. Andrew was awarded a CBE for services to Construction and Engineering.

Event venue

Institution of Civil Engineers
One Great George Street
London SW1P 3AA
United Kingdom

For more information please contact:

ICE Events Team

e: [email protected]