Cafe 200: so what is civil engineering really about?

Café 200: North West region draws packed audiences keen to learn about civil engineering successes as part of ICE 200.

Café 200: general public keen to hear how civil engineers shape the world
Café 200: general public keen to hear how civil engineers shape the world

In the North West region two events have taken place to packed audiences, each in excess of 100 people.

The first, a talk delivered by ICE member and former senior lecturer at Liverpool John Moore's University, Jim Parry, took the audience on a journey along the Liverpool to Manchester Railway (LMR) highlighting civil engineering methods used.

The LMR was instrumental in enabling the industrial revolution in the UK. The technology used, and the engineers involved, then went on to build the railways around the world.

"In 1830 the world's first passenger line opened connecting Manchester to Liverpool, the impact of which cannot be underestimated," Jim Parry explained. "It is a superb demonstration of the role that civil engineers play in shaping the world around us."

In Millom, Cumbria, ICE Member Chris Hudson captivated local people with his talk 'Holding Back The Sea' explaining the important role of Hodbarrow Mine's unique sea defences.

The mine, located on the north shore of the River Duddon estuary near Millom was one of the largest West Cumbrian iron mines operating between 1873 to 1968, and producing some 25m tonnes of hematite ore. To prevent the inflow of sea onto land that was prone to subsidence by the underground mine workings, barriers were built to hold back the sea.

Chris Hudson said: "A lot of innovation and development of engineering methods that took place at Hodbarrow have been used in engineering ever since. It's also clear that civil engineers not only build structures but help build communities too. Local towns, Haverigg and Millom, went from settlements of less than 100 people to busy towns with more than 10,000 inhabitants by 1891 thanks to the protection of the barriers at the mine."

As well as focusing on great engineering feats we are also looking to inspire the generation of future engineers. Our next ICE 200 event Pi: Building the World sees us joining forces with Manchester's Museum of Science and Industry with a range of family friendly hands-on activities. The event is on 3 February 2018, from 10.30am. No need to book in advance.