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Train of thought


Despite silky words of assurance that the membership will be consulted, the secretariats of the institutions and councils appear xated on merger.

I am fed up with being shown pictures of trains on bridges or embankments as a facile example of how 'really' close we are as professions. I don't want to see One Great George Street as a Brunel theme pub in a few years' time.

A cold eye on the gures in last week's NCE shows that the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) is way behind us in much of what it does. It gains, and we will be saddled with, a group of people with a worse professional image than ourselves, a shrinking industrial base, massive investment commitments, far fewer assets, lower fees and poorer regional structures.

In nearly 30 years as a geotechnical engineer I have far more in common with Institution of Structural Engineers and the Geological Society. I would also suggest that both organisations have far more working ICE co-members than IMechE.

I have spent my entire career distancing myself from the image of the widget-making, oil-encrusted 'engineer'. As Professor Frayling in this year's Maitland lecture showed, the image of the archetypal British engineer is Wallace and Gromit.

Nostalgic and quaint, yes, but it is not one I wish to harness myself to.

Nick Langdon, Emsworth, Hampshire, uk

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