The Junior Institution of Engineers

Posted By Tom Feltham on 13 May 2014

Posted in The Vintage Machinery Almanac

This article first appeared in Practical Engineering 1940 Vol1 No3. The published material appears within the article is accurate as of 1940. The article informs the reader of historical information pertaining to Engineering at the time.

Historical Background

The Institution was founded in 1884 by a few apprentices at the Lambeth Works of Maudslay, Sons and Field, of London, who met fortnightly for the social discussion of technical matters. From these small beginnings it has developed into one of the twelve largest engineering and scientific institutions in Great Britain. Some of the original members still figure in the List of Members, and a considerable proportion of those who joined in the early years of its career are still active participants in its meetings. The professional status and experience of the senior members have contributed greatly to the growth and success of the Institution.

The objects for which the Institution was established are set out at length in its Memorandum of Association, and may be summarised as follows:

To promote the science and practice of engineering in all its branches, to consider and discuss all questions affecting the engineering profession and its allied professions, and to improve the technical and general knowledge of those engaged, or about to engage therein.


Meetings are held in London in the lecture room of the Institution, at 39, Victoria Street, usually on Friday evenings from October to May, and at frequent intervals in the three provincial centres where the Institution maintains local sections. At these meetings papers and lectures dealing with the most diverse branches of engineering are delivered and discussed with a freedom from formality that has always been a distinctive feature.

Owing to the war, meetings are now limited to two per month.

Well-stocked reference and lending libraries, which are kept up-to-date, and a comprehensive selection of the latest technical periodicals, are to be found at the administrative headquarters at 39, Victoria Street. Frequent visits are arranged, both by London and the Local Sections, to engineering works and undertakings of professional interest, but here again visits cannot be arranged during the war.

A monthly Journal and Record of Transactions is circulated to all members. This is recognised to be potentially the most valuable service, and no effort is, therefore, spared by the Council of the Institution to make the Journal a publication of permanent worth, by full reports of papers, copiously illustrated; by personal notes of members; and by expert reviews of the most recent technical literature. Through its Corresponding Members the Council is kept in constant touch with overseas conditions as affecting the employment of engineers in other countries, and this first-hand information is also made available to members through the medium of the Journal.

The Engineers' Register

An Engineers' Register is maintained, under the personal supervision of the secretary, to assist members to obtain appointments, and the success of its operation is attested by the increasing number of firms who make it a practice to notify the Institution of vacancies occurring in their staffs. The Institution is co-operating with the Ministry of Labour through the Central Register and many members have obtained appointments through this medium.

Prizes and Awards

In addition to various medals and other distinctions which are awarded for papers of outstanding merit, the Council has in its gift an annual Bursary of £20 in cash, with sundry attendant advantages, which was founded and endowed by the late Mrs. F. R. Durham.

Grades of Membership

There are three grades of corporate membership, and two of non-corporate membership. The Articles of Association defining the several grades are briefly summarised as follows:

Corporate Members:

(a)    Members: Persons who, in the opinion of the Council, have received a general education and technical training such as to fit them for technical, executive or administrative posts in the engineering or its allied professions.

(b)    Associate Members: Persons who, in the opinion of the Council, are receiving a general education and technical training such as to fit them for technical, executive or administrative posts in the engineering or its allied professions. No person shall continue as an associate member after the attainment of his twenty-sixth year.

(c)    Associates: Persons not possessing the qualifications necessary for admission as members, but who, nevertheless, shall be worthy, in the opinion of the Council, of the distinction of associateship.

Non-Corporate Members:

(d)    Student Members: Youths of 15 to 18 years of age registered as students (day or evening) and apprentices (indentured or not) in approved technical schools or engineering works. In certain circumstances students are registered up to the age of 21 years.

(e)    Temporary Members: are persons above 18 years of age of all nationalities from overseas temporarily resident in Great Britain for the purposes of study and training in engineering.

Admission to the Institution

The essential qualifications for admission are: (i) a good general education; (ii) a technical education in engineering and/or allied sciences; (iii) practical experience in workshop, laboratory or drawing office, or experience in the administrative production or distribution departments of engineering firms. There is no entrance examination. Full details of the procedure governing admission, the entrance fees and subscriptions, etc., can be obtained on application to the secretary.

Provincial Local Sections

The local sections previously mentioned are maintained in Birmingham, Manchester and Sheffield, and provide facilities for members in and around the three centres to attend meetings and visits similar to those arranged for London members.

Total Membership

The total corporate membership of the Institution at September 30th, 1939, was 1,311. The considerable proportion of these who are also corporate members of the "senior" qualifying institution is sufficient evidence that the Junior Institution of Engineers has its own distinctive part in engineering affairs, complementary to the functions of the major institutions.

Corresponding Members

The Council appoints certain members in the provinces and abroad as its special correspondents, and is thus enabled to provide members proceeding overseas with effective introductions to men of professional standing, having experience of local conditions.

The Institution has corresponding members in the following countries:

Europe. Belgium, France, Gibraltar, Holland.

Asia. Assam, Burma, China (Harbin, Hong Kong, Shanghai), Indo-China, Singapore, India (Bombay, Madras, Lahore, Calcutta), Ceylon, Japan, Siam, Iraq.

Africa. East Africa (Kenya), South Africa (Durban, Johannesburg, Rhodesia), West Africa (Kano, Lagos, Ibadan, Gold Coast), Egypt.

Americas. Canada (Montreal, Ontario), United States (Ohio, New York, Baltimore, Indiana), Mexico, Jamaica, Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Ecuador, Sao Paulo, Uruguay, Venezuela.

Australia and New Zealand. Adelaide, Invercargill, Melbourne, Auckland, Wellington.

Institution Offices

The Institution Offices at 39, Victoria Street, S.W.I, are open daily from 9.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. (Saturday 12.30 p.m.), during which hours the Secretary, Mr. G. W. Germain, is always pleased to receive enquirers who may desire more detailed information regarding the Institution than is contained in this brief outline.