Historical civil engineering recognised in top 200 influential projects that shaped the world

Floating temporary harbours built for D-Day, the grade I listed Pontycysylite aqueduct and a crane that helped build some of the biggest ships in the world have been declared some of the most significant examples of historical civil engineering.

The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) has announced these projects have joined the 200 People and Projects list, which best illustrate how civil engineering has shaped the world and transformed people's lives for the better.

Nathan Baker, Engineering Knowledge Director at ICE, said:

"Our research has shown that the majority of both adults and young people don't know what a civil engineer does and most can't identify a single UK civil engineering project. Awe-inspiring projects such as Mulberry Harbours and the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct demonstrate how civil engineering directly transforms people's lives and has helped shaped the world we see today. By celebrating our 200 People and Projects, we hope to inspire the next generation to join the profession and build the Titan Cranes of tomorrow."

Among the projects identified this month are some of the most influential historical projects that have helped get water to communities, give Britain the industrial edge and help to turn the tide of World War II.

The Mulberry harbours were floating artificial harbours, designed and constructed by British military engineers during World War 2. They were used to protect supply ships anchored off the coast of Normandy, North West France, after the D-Day landings of June 6, 1944. In the 10 months after D-Day, Mulberry B was used to land over 2.5 million troops, 500,000 vehicles and 4 million tonnes of supplies. The harbour is credited by some historians with shortening the war by increasing the effectiveness of the Allied supply chain during the invasion.

A grade 1 listed building and part of a World Heritage Site, Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is the longest and highest aqueduct in the UK at 307 metres long and 38 metres above the River Dee. Designed by Thomas Telford, the project was ambitious and ground-breaking when work started in 1795, employing never-before-seen techniques and materials and standing at more than 3 times the height of existing aqueducts of the time. The canal carried by the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct connected the industries of north east Wales with the canal network leading south to the English midlands. By making it easier for goods to get from Wales to England, it helped boost the local economy and opened the region to new markets.

In 1907, the Titan was the biggest crane of its type ever built and was a critical factor in the success of the Clydebank shipyard, allowing the yard to build and fit out extremely large ships. At 49 metres tall, it weighed around 800 tonnes and had an initial lifting capacity of 160 tonnes, later boosted to 203 tonnes in 1938 to install long-range gun turrets into battleships. The Clydebank Titan helped construct some of Britain's best-known ships, including the ocean liners Queen Elizabeth and Queen Elizabeth 2 and the royal yacht Britannia. After falling into disuse in the 1980s, the Titan has since reopened in 2007 as a tourist attraction following a 2-year £3.75m restoration project.

To mark the ICE's 200th anniversary, and to support Government's Year of Engineering, the Institution is highlighting 200 inspirational and world-changing projects, both past and present, from around the world. Nominated by the ICE's members and selected by an expert panel, the chosen projects illustrate the breadth and depth of civil engineering's impact. A select number of the 200 projects are being unveiled each month, revealing the full list by the end of 2018. Other historical projects in March's announcement include York railway station, Glasgow's water supply system, the Conwy crossings, Tay bridges, Alderney breakwater, and the Tamar crossings. More modern projects include the 2001 stabilisation of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

The 200 projects will be published throughout the year on the What Is Civil Engineering? pages of the ICE website. What is Civil Engineering? will not only host these projects but can also be used as a career guidance tool for those hoping to pursue a career in civil engineering. Once inspired by the projects being produced each month, there is comprehensive advice and guidance on how to become a civil engineer no matter what level of education someone has, or what stage in their career they have reached.

This platform has been designed to help promote the career of civil engineering after it was revealed that only 45% of adults know what the career entails and only 35% of young people could tell you what a civil engineer does.

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