AGM + John ‘Longitude’ Harrison – what did he actually achieve? @ MANCHESTER Museum of Science & Industry
Sep 26 @ 6:30 pm – 8:15 pm

John Harrison ClockDoug Bateman debunks the many myths surrounding Harrison and the Longitude Prize. It is well known that John Harrison’s watch was the first to demonstrate that longitude could be determined at sea with the aid of a time-piece. Much has been written about his clocks and the watch, with the emphasis on the ‘story’. However, many writers ignore the importance of other workers and astronomers, and reluctantly mention that Harrison’s watch was completely uneconomic. Doug Bateman outlines the problem of accurate timekeeping and its potential solutions, through to the appearance of the box chronometer. The lecture mentions the Sheffield clockmaker, Benjamin Huntsman, who turned to developing crucible steel; the huge significance of Ramsden and his sextants; and Nevil Maskelyne, the Astronomer Royal, who helped to assess the watch, and pioneered the publication of the Nautical Almanac. The Newcomen North West AGM will take place on the same evening.

The Famous ‘Flying Scotsman’ – Marketing, Circumstance and Chance   @ MANCHESTER Renold Building, University of Manchester
Oct 24 @ 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm

Bob's photo at NRM croppedA lecture by Bob Gwynne who is an outstanding speaker from the National Railway Museum in York on a topic that needs no introduction. This is a (joint meeting with The Stephenson Locomotive Society. In the UK approximately 110,000 steam locomotives were built, but just one seems to be universally known amongst the British public. Author, curator and Flying Scotsman expert Bob Gwynne will attempt to answer the question as to why ‘Flying Scotsman’ is so famous. Expect unusual images and people stories that cover more than 90 years of ‘marketing, circumstance and chance’ in a lively presentation that will provide some insight as to why the 3rd ‘A1’ locomotive built by the LNER for a specific job, became a ‘UK plc’ brand as familiar as HP sauce and Big Ben.

The Renold Building is entered from Altrincham Street, close to Piccadilly Railway station taxi exit and Tram Stop.  There is a multi-storey car park on Charles Street with a pedestrian exit on Sackville Street which leads to the Renold Building. The Renold Building is the tall white building with the zig-zag front and open glass staircase.

NOTE: There will be a voluntary charge of £4 to defray room hire expenses at the University


A call to ARMs @ MANCHESTER Museum of Science & Industry
Nov 28 @ 6:00 pm – 8:15 pm

A personal account from Professor Stephen Furber,  the developer of the RISC chip used in all your smartphones. This is a joint meeting with The Computer Conservation Society. Please note earlier start time of 6pm

Stuffed in attic trunks and the minds of aging scientists”? Reflections on Technical History and the History of Technology @ MANCHESTER Museum of Science & Industry
Jan 30 @ 6:30 pm – 8:15 pm

Michael Grace’s Presidential Address examines the value of detailed technical history and its status

Who designed the Clifton Suspension Bridge? Fact & Fiction. @ MANCHESTER Museum of Science & Industry
Feb 27 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

A lecture by Julia Elton.

Bulldozers @ MANCHESTER Museum of Science & Industry
Mar 27 @ 6:30 pm – 8:15 pm

A lecture by Ralph Harrington

Will McTaggart and Robert Steeds, Film Evening @ MANCHESTER Central Library Performance Space
Apr 24 @ 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm

Films on industry in the North-West brought to you by the North-West Film Archive.

The Dickinson Memorial Lecture: Measuring greatness: engineering biography- scholarship, hagiography or a marketing tool? @ LONDON: The Dana Studio, Wellcome Wolfson Building,
May 9 @ 5:45 pm – 7:45 pm

The Dickinson Memorial Lecture will be given by Mike Chrimes. the title of his lecture is Measuring greatness: engineering biography- scholarship, hagiography or a marketing tool?

Mike Chrimes is a long-standing member of the Newcomen Society, serving on its Council and acting as Reviews Editor for many years. He is currently involved in the inter-societal organising committee for the Early Main Line Railway Conference, 2018. He became interested in the history of engineering through his work in the Library of the Institution of Civil Engineers, and a concern over the paucity and meagerness of the literature of the subject. He has written and lectured extensively on the history of civil engineering, including contributions to The Civil Engineers (2011), and The Contractors (2014) with Hugh Ferguson. Hugh and Mike are now working on The Consultants. From 1996 Mike was involved with ICE’s Biographical Dictionary of Civil Engineers Project, which resulted in 3 volumes covering the periods 1500-1830 (2002); 1830-1890  (2008) and 1890-1920 (2014). Other books include Civil engineering 1839-1889 (1991); The Civil engineering of canals and railways (1997); Historic concrete (with Sutherland and Humm) (2002) and Robert Stephenson– (with Michael Bailey) (2003). Mike has written numerous papers and served on English Heritage’s Industrial Archaeology Panel. In 2007 Mike’s historical contribution was recognised with the American Society of Civil Engineers History and Heritage Award. He has had a long career, at the ICE,  providing information on civil engineering. A belief in the capability of the internet and digital communications to deliver better, and better value, knowledge transfer for all members was fundamental to this. His service for ICE was recognised by the award of the Garth Watson medal in 1996, and again in 2014, and the Spirit of Telford Award in 2007 and was awarded an MBE in January 2011 for services to engineering.



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    • Publications

       Newcomen Links 243, the September issue, has been published. The next issue of the International Journal for the History of Engineering and Technology will also be published this month.  

    • Films: On the Line, 25-28 August, Curzon Bloomsbury, London

      This season of five films traverses the railways of the world. Includes Turksib (1929) and Night Mail (1936). Turksib charts the monumental efforts to build a railway linking the regions of Turkestan and Siberia in 1920s USSR. British documentary short Night Mail: a lyrical look at postal workers on the Royal Mail train delivery service. […]

    • NewcomenLinks 242

      now available in the Members’ Area

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