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As might already be clear from the cover, this special anniversary issue of Ground Engineering celebrates the end of the magazine's 30th year and the start of the British Geotechnical Society's 50th.

As a result, GE's format this month is slightly different. There is no Talking Point, News, Contracts or any of the other regular features. Instead we celebrate the developments in Britain's great geotechnical community. The issue kicks off with Bill Craig, the current BGS chairman, who outlines the changing role of the BGS since its formation, together with some of the Society's notable achievements over the last half a century.

Arthur Penman, one of the international community's elder statesmen (and also a former Rankine Lecturer, BGS chairman and Skempton Gold Medal winner to boot) then looks back at the developments in soil mechanics that led to the formation of the BGS - then the British Section of the International Society for Soil Mechanics and Foundation Engineering - in January 1949.

We round up our BGS section by tracking down many of the past winners of the prestigious Cooling Prize for young geotechnical engineers. We find out what they have done since and what winning meant to them.

And finally, we take a look back at some of the key moments and landmark projects reported in Ground Engineering over the last three decades, along with a wealth of trivia gleaned from issues since 1968. We hope you excuse our indulgence and trust you find the results worthwhile.

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