After graduating in Civil Engineering from Sheffield Hallam University in 1978, I subsequently undertook research leading to a PhD in Computer Modelling. In 1982 I joined the Leeds based Consulting Engineers J H Haiste where, in addition to working on a wide range of engineering schemes, I took the leading role in many early studies involving the application of computer analysis techniques to the modelling of water supply, sewerage, and related systems. This included the porting of several mainframe software programmes onto the first generation of PC’s. In latter years, in addition to providing technical advice and input into the modelling required in a wide range of engineering studies, I also undertook a range of management roles.
Although I have had a life long interest in the history of technology and joined the Newcomen Society in 1986 it is only since my retirement that I have become actively involved with the Society. Whilst my main research interests are the origins of the early civil engineering profession in Yorkshire, since 2013 I have taken a leading role in developing a collaboration of Industrial and Local History Societies in Yorkshire. This group has come together with the specific objective of making available, on the web, member’s research notes, photographs and personal knowledge on the many industrial heritage sites in Yorkshire that have not otherwise been documented.
I have recently become the Membership Secretary for the newly formed South Yorkshire Branch of the Society. I consider that the forming of this branch is an important development which gives the Society an opportunity to engage with a new group of engineers and technologists.
I believe that the Newcomen Society is uniquely placed to provide a forum for capturing knowledge and for communicating first hand accounts of the development of technology – key information that would otherwise be lost. I also feel strongly that the Society needs to find ways to reach out to younger engineers and technologists and this is an aspect that I would like to develop further with other Council Members.