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The visit is centred on Birmingham, adopted home of James Watt and proud base of both iconic engineering heritage and cutting-edge technology. In the bi-centenary year of Watt’s death, we will visit one of ‘his’ engines, the Smethwick Steam Engine, the world’s oldest working steam engine.  We will also view the exhibition ‘The Life and Legacy of James Watt 1736 – 1819’ at the Library of Birmingham, with an opportunity to explore this striking building – billed as ‘Europe’s largest cultural space’.

In the 80th year since the outbreak of World War Two, we can learn about one of the conflict’s most famous engineering feats – the Spitfire.  We will view a preserved example and learn of Birmingham’s key role in in its development.  We will also visit the factory that produced over 10,000 Spitfires, and which today produces Jaguar sports cars. The visit to Jaguar Land Rover’s Castle Bromwich Works will include a guided tour of this modern car assembly plant. A high-tech theme continues with a visit to the University of Birmingham’s Centre for Railway Research, to see developments with hydrogen engines and fuel cell technology.

A number of other activities is planned for our three days in Birmingham, to showcase what this ‘City of a thousand trades’ offers historians of engineering and technology. It will be a packed programme, so delegates may wish to join us on Tuesday evening 27th August 2019.

Accommodation and booking details will be published shortly so please check back later.

For those wishing to extend their visit beyond our official programme, please note that the University of Birmingham’s Conference on James Watt runs from 30 August – 1 September 2019 (separate booking required – see here).

Alternatively, the wider West Midlands has much to offer self-guided visitors, including the Black Country Living Museum, Severn Valley Railway and Coventry Motor Museum.