Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland

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Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland
Established1 May 1857 (1857-05-01)
TypeEngineering and Shipbuilding professional association
HeadquartersFyfe Chambers, 105 West George Street, Glasgow, Scotland, G2 1QL
Region served
Servicesopen lectures, social events, annual James Watt Dinner
Key people
  • David Westmore, FIES (President)
  • Laura Clow (secretary)

The Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland (IESIS) is a multi-disciplinary professional body and learned society, founded in Scotland, for professional engineers in all disciplines and for those associated with or taking an interest in their work. Its main activities are an annual series of evening talks on engineering, open to all, and a range of school events aimed at encouraging young people to consider engineering careers.

IESIS is registered as a Scottish Charity, No SC011583 and is the fourth oldest, still-active, registered Company in Scotland.[1][2][3]

Members, Fellows, Graduates or Companions are entitled to use the abbreviated distinctive letters after their name - MIES, FIES, GIES, CIES.


The inaugural meeting of the Institution of Engineers in Scotland was held on 1 May 1857. Office bearers were appointed and the principal objective of the new institution was set down as "the encouragement and advancement of Engineering Science and Practice". It was to have a broad basis for membership, and engineers from the mining, foundry, railway, iron, shipbuilding and other industries were to be eligible. The prime movers behind the founding of the Institution were William John Macquorn Rankine, Regius Professor of Civil Engineering and Mechanics at the University of Glasgow, and Walter Montgomerie Neilson, one of the major figures in establishing Glasgow's locomotive-building industry. Rankine was the first President of the Institution and Neilson succeeded him in 1859. The engineer James Howden, who died in 1913, was the last surviving founding member of the Institution.[4]

The Institution was an early promoter of consciousness of industrial effects on the environment. In those early years there was a pervading atmosphere of enquiry into the applications of steam power. In 1858 the Institution was responsible for a public meeting, held in the Glasgow City Chambers, to establish "An Association for Promoting Safety, Economy and Absence of Smoke in the raising and use of Steam".

The Scottish Shipbuilders Association had been formed in 1860 and amalgamated with the Institution of Engineers in Scotland on 25 October 1865. The name Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland was adopted in 1870. The first female President of the Institution, Karen Dinardo, took office on 4 October 2016, at the start of a two-year term. Her father, Carlo Dinardo, had been president in 1999–2001.

The Institution has had a number of headquarters. The building at 39 Elmbank Crescent, Glasgow was commissioned and built in 1906–08 and was designed by J.B. Wilson. In the foyer of this building, there is a memorial to the 36 engineers who died on RMS Titanic. The marble and bronze memorial was subscribed by members, designed by the sculptor William Kellock Brown, and unveiled on 15 April 1914. The Institution, with the permission of Scottish Opera, current occupiers of the building, organised a memorial service in the building on 14 April 2012.[5]

Current name[edit]

In 2020, the Institution reverted its name to the Institution of Engineers in Scotland, reflecting the breadth of engineering disciplines among its membership and practised throughout Scotland.


In addition to an annual programme of evening talks on various engineering topics, the Institution endows two prestige lectures:

  • The annual MacMillan Memorial Lecture established in 1959 in memory of Hugh Miller MacMillan, a prominent shipbuilding Engineer in Scotland, England and Northern Ireland.[6][7]
  • The biennial Marlow (Scotland) Lecture established in 1964.

Both have attracted high-profile speakers.[citation needed]

Digitisation programme[edit]

IESIS has a significant collection of engineering papers and other materials in its archives. Since 2013, there has been a programme to digitise all Transactions of the Institution from its earliest days so that these may be made available as a reference resource.[8]

Scottish Engineering Hall of Fame[edit]

In 2011, IESIS launched a new initiative, The Scottish Engineering Hall of Fame,[9] to celebrate Scotland's tradition of engineering and shipbuilding. It provides role models for young people considering careers in engineering.

The first seven inductees were announced by President Gordon Masterton at the Institution's annual James Watt Dinner in September 2011. As of 2019, there have been 39 names added to the Hall of Fame, nine of whom were living inductees: Douglas Anderson (retinal imaging), Hugh Gill (bionic hand), Thomas Graham Brown (ultrasound scanner), Sir Donald Miller (electric power supply system), James Goodfellow (automated teller machine), Sir Duncan Michael (structural engineer and business leader), Craig Clark (satellite engineer), Naeem Hussain (bridge engineer) and Gordon McConnell (aircraft engineer). To date there have been four female inductees, Dorothée Pullinger, Anne Gillespie Shaw, Victoria Drummond and Mary Fergusson.

The Hall of Fame panel encourages nominations from the public as well as members.


The following is a list of the presidents of the Institution since its inception:.[10]

  • 1857-59 William John Macquorn Rankine, LLD, FRSE, FRS, Regius Professor of Civil Engineering and Mechanics, University of Glasgow
  • 1859-61 Walter Montgomerie Neilson, Hyde Park Locomotive Works, Glasgow
  • 1861-63 William Johnstone, Resident Engineer, Glasgow and South Western Railway, Glasgow
  • 1863-65 James Robert Napier, Engineer and Shipbuilder Glasgow
  • 1865-67 James Gray Lawrie, Engineer and Shipbuilder, Glasgow
  • 1867-69 James Morris Gale, Engineer, Glasgow Corporation Water Works
  • 1869-70 William John Macquorn Rankine, LLD, FRSE, FRS, Regius Professor of Civil Engineering and Mechanics, University of Glasgow[note 1]
  • 1870-72 David Rowan, Marine Engineer, Glasgow
  • 1872-74 Robert Duncan, Shipbuilder, Port Glasgow
  • 1874-76 Hazelton Robson, Marine Engineer, Glasgow
  • 1876-78 Robert Bruce Bell, Civil Engineer, Glasgow
  • 1878-80 Robert Mansel, Shipbuilder, Glasgow
  • 1880-82 John Lennox Kincaid Jamieson, Marine Engineer, Glasgow
  • 1882-84 James Reid, Hyde Park Locomotive Works, Glasgow
  • 1884-86 James Thomson, LLD, FRS, Regius Professor of Civil Engineering and Mechanics, University of Glasgow
  • 1886-87 William Denny, Shipbuilder, Dumbarton[11]
  • 1887-89 Alexander Carnegie Kirk, LLD, Marine Engineer, Glasgow
  • 1889-91 Ebenezer Kemp, Marine Engineer, Glasgow
  • 1891-93 Robert Dundas, Resident Engineer, Southern Division, Caledonian Railway, Glasgow
  • 1893-95 John Inglis, LLD, Engineer and Shipbuilder, Glasgow
  • 1895-97 Sir William Arrol, LLD, MP, Engineer and Bridge Builder, Glasgow
  • 1897-99 George Russell, Mechanical Engineer, Motherwell
  • 1899-01 Robert Caird, LLD, FRSE, Shipbuilder, Greenock
  • 1901-03 William Foults, Engineer, Glasgow Corporation Gas Works
  • 1903-05 Sir Archibald Denny, Bt., LLD, Shipbuilder, Dumbarton
  • 1905-07 James Gilchrist, Marine Engineer, Glasgow
  • 1907-09 John Ward, Shipbuilder, Glasgow
  • 1909-10 Charles Pullar Hogg, Civil Engineer, Glasgow
  • 1910-11 Archibald Barr, LLD, DSc, Regius Professor of Civil Engineering and Mechanics, University of Glasgow
  • 1911-13 Ebenezer Hall-Brown, Marine Engineer, Glasgow
  • 1913-15 Robert Thomas Moore, DSc, Civil and Mining Engineer, Glasgow
  • 1915-17 William Walker Lackie, CBE, Engineer and Manager, Glasgow Corporation Electricity Works
  • 1917-19 Alexander Cleghorn, FRSE, Marine Engineer, Glasgow
  • 1919-21 Thomas Blackwood Murray, DSc, Automobile Engineer, Glasgow
  • 1921-23 Harold Edgar Yarrow, CBE, Shipbuilder, Glasgow
  • 1923-25 James Howden Hume, Marine Engineer, Glasgow
  • 1925-27 Archibald Jack Campbell, Shipbuilder, Dalmuir
  • 1927-29 Ralph David Moore, BSc, Steel Founder, Glasgow
  • 1929-31 Colonel Sir James Lithgow, Bt., MC, DL, Shipbuilder, Port Glasgow
  • 1931-33 Archibald Gilchrist, OBE, Marine Engineer, Glasgow
  • 1933-35 John Dewar Cormack, CMG, CBE, DSc, Regius Professor of Civil Engineering and Mechanics, University of Glasgow
  • 1935-37 Percy Archibald Hillhouse, DSc, John Elder Professor of Naval Architecture, University of Glasgow
  • 1937-39 Alfred Charles Gardner, FRSE, Engineer, Clyde Navigation Trust, Glasgow
  • 1939-41 Wilfrid Ayre, Shipbuilder, Burntisland
  • 1941-43 Frederick Charles Stewart, Engineer, Glasgow
  • 1943-45 A. Murray Stephen, MC, BA, Shipbuilder, Glasgow
  • 1945-47 Allan Stevenson, CBE, Marine Engineer, Glasgow
  • 1947-49 James M. McNeill, MC, LLD, Naval Architect, Clydebank
  • 1949-51 Gilbert Cook, DSc, FRS, Regius Professor of Civil Engineering and Mechanics, University of Glasgow
  • 1951-52 Sir Andrew McCance, DL, DSc, LLD, FRS, Metallurgist, Glasgow
  • 1952-54 Sir William Wallace, CBE, FRSE, Mechanical Engineer, Edinburgh
  • 1954-56 Andrew McCance Robb, DSc, John Elder Professor of Naval Architecture, University of Glasgow
  • 1956-57 Sir Harold E. Yarrow, Bt., CBE, LLD, Engineer and Shipbuilder, Glasgow
  • 1957-59 James Small, DSc, PhD, James Watt Professor of Mechanical Engineering, University of Glasgow
  • 1959-61 John Brown, BSc, Naval Architect, Clydebank
  • 1961-63 Iain Maxwell Stewart, BSc, Engineer, Glasgow
  • 1963-65 Adam Simpson Turnbull Thomson, DSc, PhD, FRSE, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Royal College of Science and Technology, Glasgow
  • 1965-67 James Lenaghan, CBE, Shipbuilder, Glasgow
  • 1967-69 William Proudfoot Walker, Naval Architect, Edinburgh
  • 1969-71 Sir John William Atwell, CBE, MSc, FRSE, Engineer, Glasgow
  • 1973-73 William M. Cormie, CBE, BSc, Civil Engineer, Glasgow
  • 1973-75 J. Burton Davies, BSc, CEng, Naval Architect, Glasgow
  • 1975-77 A.W. Scott, CBE, PhD, BSc, CEng
  • 1977-79 William George Nicholson Geddes, CBE, BSc, FEng, FRSE, Civil Engineer, Glasgow
  • 1979-81 B.N. Baxter, MSc, PhD, CEng, Naval Architect, Glasgow
  • 1981-83 J.A. Turner, BSc, CEng, Mechanical Engineer, Clydebank
  • 1983-85 Alexander M.M. Stephen, BA, CEng, Shipbuilder, Glasgow
  • 1985-87 John Rorke, CBE, BSc, PhD, FRSE, CEng
  • 1987-89 Thomas O. Leith, OBE, BSc, CEng, Mechanical Engineer, Glasgow
  • 1989-91 H.C. Simpson, BSc, ScD, FRSE, Professor
  • 1991-93 I.C. Broadley, BSc, CEng, FInstE, Mechanical Engineer, Glasgow
  • 1993-95 J. Neumann, CBE, FEng, Mechanical Engineer, Glasgow
  • 1995-97 Douglas Faulkner, Wh.Sc., RCNC, PhD, DSc, FREng, John Elder Professor of Naval Architecture, Glasgow
  • 1997-99 Sir Robert Easton, CBE, DUniv, Shipbuilder, Glasgow
  • 1999-01 Carlo Dinardo, CEng, Civil Engineer, Paisley
  • 2001-01 Dan Kirkwood, BSc(Hons), PhD, CEng, Professor of Metallurgy, Glasgow[note 2]
  • 2001-04 Anthony Slaven, MA, BLitt, FRHistS, Professor of History, Glasgow
  • 2004-06 Crawford F. Gorrie, CEng, Engineer, Glasgow
  • 2006-08 Ernest Chambers, BSc, Civil Engineer, Glasgow
  • 2008-10 David K. Harrison, MEng, PhD, Professor of Engineering, Glasgow Caledonian University
  • 2010-12 Gordon Grier Thomson Masterton, OBE, Hon.D.Eng, Hon.D.Tech, BA, MSc, FREng, FRSE, Civil Engineer, Glasgow
  • 2012-14 Iain MacLeod, BSc, PhD, Emeritus Professor of Structural Engineering, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow
  • 2014-16 Philip Preston, BSc, CEng, MICE, Civil Engineer, Glasgow
  • 2016-18 Karen Dinardo, BSc, CEng, MIStructE, MICE, Civil Engineer, Paisley
  • 2018-20 David Westmore, BSc, CEng, MRINA, Naval Architect, Paisley


  1. ^ John Elder, Shipbuilder, Glasgow, was elected for session 1869-70, but died before taking office
  2. ^ Resigned


  1. ^ "Wikispaces".
  2. ^ "University of Glasgow - MyGlasgow - Archive Services - BACS - Scotland's Hundred Oldest Companies".
  3. ^ "Wikispaces". Archived from the original on 29 July 2018. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  4. ^ Day, Lance and McNeil, Ian, Biographical Dictionary of the History of Technology, Vol. 39, London, Routledge, 1988, p. 358, at Biographical Dictionary,, accessed 27 September 2009
  5. ^ The Scotsman, 11 April 2012:
  6. ^ "MacMillan Lectures".
  7. ^ "Bonhams : A George III carved giltwood pier glass circa 1760".
  8. ^ "Transactions". IESIS. Retrieved 15 October 2017.
  9. ^ "Scottish Engineering Hall of Fame". 2012. Archived from the original on 13 October 2012. Retrieved 27 August 2012.
  10. ^ "Past Presidents of IESIS". 2012. Retrieved 2 March 2012.
  11. ^ "William Denny III". Archived from the original on 17 October 2013. Retrieved 27 April 2012.

External links[edit]