The correspondence regarding responsibility for the design of the Millau Bridge brought to mind the efforts that I made, when I was Lord Mayor of London, to obtain the names of the engineers responsible for the Channel Tunnel and the London Ring Main. The purpose was to hold a dinner in the City of London in honour of those engineers.
I was told, as I was aware, that such projects were not carried through by one person but by teams. When I suggested that someone had to lead the teams, it was pointed out, as again I knew, that different phases of the project required different teams.
Eventually I gave up and was moved to say, 'if you are responsible for the design of an oil rig for the hostile environment of the North Sea, no one will ever hear of you, but if you are responsible for a building that looks like an oil rig and put it in the City of London, you go to the House of Lords'.
Engineers will continue to worry about the lack of recognition until they learn that giving credit to the leader of the team does not reduce the credit for efforts of the rest of the team. Indeed, being part of a successful team brings its own satisfaction.
Sir Francis McWilliams (F), Flat 7, Whittingehame House, Whittingehame, East Lothian, Scotland, EH41 4QA