ICE 200: HRH the Duke of York praises social impact of civil engineers

At a special ICE 200 gala dinner ICE's royal patron says that civil engineers have been at the heart of social and economic progress for centuries.

ICE Patron HRH the Duke of York: inspiring young people key role for ICE
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ICE Patron HRH the Duke of York: inspiring young people key role for ICE

His Royal Highness the Duke of York attended a gala dinner at ICE’s headquarters One Great George Street to celebrate ICE 200, the institution’s bicentenary.

The dinner, attended by senior industry professionals and representatives of ICE, was held to celebrate the role that civil engineers play in directly transforming people’s lives.

It was hosted by ICE President Professor Lord Robert Mair who welcomed attendees with a speech that looked back at the beginnings of the institution. On 2 January 1818 three young engineers - Henry Robinson Palmer, James Jones and Joshua Field met at the Kendall Coffee House on Fleet Street to found what would become the world’s oldest engineering body.

He told the audience that 200 years on from that initial meeting ICE has become an international organisation with more than 92,000 members throughout the world dedicated to being a global leader for knowledge sharing, problem solving and action taking in tackling the challenges of our age.

ICE’s Global Engineering Congress, to be held in October, he said, will unite the global community in a combined and coordinated effort to tackle five of the United Nation’s Sustainability Goals.

The Duke of York also spoke, recognising that reaching a 200th anniversary is a milestone worth celebrating. He hailed the contribution that civil engineers have made to society in providing many of the things we need and take for granted every day – like clean water, transport and electricity – helping people to live safer and easier lives.

He also said that it is important to work hard to inspire more young people to take up engineering and that ICE has a powerful and important part to play in this .

Closing his speech, HRH asked that guests tell friends and family of the significant impact that civil engineers have had on their lives.

Guests were given a special commemorative medallion produced in 1842 at the time of the completion of the Thames Tunnel.