The Explore Engineering initiative aims to promote the work and importance of Civil Engineering to the wider public.
More than 200 people attended the tours over the summer walking programme. The majority of those attending the tours have had no background in engineering, promisingly, many young people have also shown an interest.
Each tour was led by an enthusiastic guide from the London G&S committee, and several student and graduate members of the ICE were also on hand to engage with those who came along.
Through the three different tour routes - each one exploring a different neighborhood - the very best engineering that London could offer was put on display to all. The skyscrapers of the Square Mile and the bridges of the Thames were the perfect backdrop for explaining how civil engineers creatively solve problems.
Current worksites for Crossrail and Thames Tideway teased audiences with what was visible over site hoardings, and gave guides an opportunity to explain how today’s civil engineers overcome great challenges to safeguard the future of our city.
Attendees were also treated to explanations of lesser-known civil engineering delights such as the Barbican’s monolithic concrete towers, Cannon Street station’s enormous cantilevered overbuild, and the Tate Modern extension.
It wasn’t only the public who learned something about civil engineering from the tours. The London G&S Walking Tours Coordinator, Joe Marner, felt those involved in the organisation of the tours learned a great deal too.
“The best part of putting the tours together was finding out all of the exciting and interesting little-known details about structures in London. The core group of five or so G&S members spent months researching each of the tours finding the very best details to share with our audience, and I think the majority of it was unknown to us beforehand too!”
He felt that it was a great way for young professionals in engineering to understand the industry that they are all starting careers in, saying “in order to make the tours relatable to members of the public, we linked in key themes they would be more familiar with, such as the economic and social sides of decision making around our key projects. This was great for us too, as it helped us further our understanding of what makes the cogs in our industry keep turning”.
The tours were a fitting way to celebrate the bicentenary of the Institution, bringing engineering to the public for all to see, in a way that excites and entertains. On the back of its success the London G&S committee is considering making the summer walking tours series a permanent feature in their calendar of events.
The summer Explore Engineering Walking Tour Programme has now finished for 2018. However ICE London will be leading walking and cycling tours during Open House from 22-23 September and hosting Engineering Late on Friday 19 October.