ICE Archive

ICE archives contain records relating to the ICE from its formation in 1818 to the present.

These include the Minutes of the first meeting at the Kendal Coffee House and the definition of civil engineering as written by Thomas Tredgold for the Royal Charter, manuscripts, notebooks, drawings, photos and papers on past construction projects – from Marc Brunel’s Thames Tunnel to today's Channel Tunnel.


The Institution has a small collection of civil engineering drawings. They include the Rennie Drawings and engravings, Coode drawings - 19th century harbour works, Sir Alexander Gibb and Partners - 19th and early 20th century projects and John Taylor & Sons - Water supply and sewage schemes. There are also over 500 drawings in the Mackenzie collection including plans and details of UK and continental railways. Sir Alexander Gibb’s research on Thomas Telford


The Archives contain original photographs of various civil engineering projects dating back to the 1850s including over 30 albums and collections of photographs of, for example, the Forth Bridge, I K Brunel’s Great Eastern , the Manchester Ship canal as well as overseas projects including bridges in India and railways in South America. There are also many individual prints and a large collection of glass slides covering subjects from the late 19th century onwards.

Notebooks, diaries and letters

There are notebooks by John Grundy, 1740 and William Weston, (1780 – 98) to the relatively recent notebooks of J Husband (1920) of the consulting firm of the same name. There are collections of diaries for James Brindley (1759 to 1763) and Thomas Gooch (1823 to 1833). There are also various individual and sets of letters including those from John Fowler, between William Fairbairn, Robert Stephenson and Edwin Clark (1845-8) and between Thomas Telford and the Little family (1772 - 1833).

Search the Collection and order material in advance

The ICE extensive archive collection can now be searched online via the online catalogue. If planning a visit, please search the catalogue to locate the records you would like to view. The ICE archives are open to ICE members, researchers and any member of the public. Note that a majority of our archive material is stored off site; as such an appointment should be made in advance.

This will allow us enough time to retrieve the material from external storage.

Depending on the fragility of the material copies can be made in person during a visit or a request can be made to the archivists for some items to be copied on your behalf. Please note that a charge will be applied for this service.

Search the archive

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Institution of Civil Engineers
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