Story behind our Society

On 29th October 1923, about 60 local engineers met in the Royal Hotel, Norwich to consider a proposal put forward by Mr A E Collins, the then City Engineer, to form an Engineering Society for Norwich. He proposed that the new Society should have members drawn from every branch of engineering, but was not to be a trade association. The first meeting was held on the 12th November 1923 when Mr Collins spoke of the traffic and congestion in the City!! The Society was not active during the war, but on 1st October 1945 the lecture programme restarted.

Over six hundred meetings have been held, topics have covered nearly every aspect of or development in engineering. In 1923 Aircraft and  the metric system were discussed, 1924 London Tube Tunnelling, in the 30’s the liner Queen Mary, 1936 television and in the 50’s, Rocket propelled armaments, atomic energy,  gas turbines and jet airliners, all reflecting the scene of the day.

Today’s lecture programmes seek to continue the tradition of reflecting the engineering scene of today, the future and some lectures cover similar ground to those in the early days!

The 50th Anniversary of the Society was celebrated by a special meeting at the Royal Hotel in Norwich and attended by some 150 members. The 60th anniversary was marked by an exhibition “Sixty Years of Engineering in Norwich. This was supported by 20 companies and organisations, which attracted some 3000 visitors. Read more about NES's history.

The Society has for many years supported local education. Several of institutions, such as UEA, UTC Norwich and Ormiston Victory Academy are Corporate Members. This allows any Member of Staff and pupils to attend our talk events free. The Society also supports the Rotary Technology Tournament. This event brings together teams from local schools in a friendly competitive environment to solve a simple yet interesting engineering problem. To make the task fairer the teams are allocated, usually on the basis of age, to one of three levels; basic, normal and advanced. Members of the Society have helped in the past in the administration and judging of this interesting and important activity. The Society continues to seek ways of awakening an interest in engineering amongst our young people.

Today the Society successfully attracts members with a wide range of engineering backgrounds. On average nearly 100 members regularly attend our lectures, as a result the Society has been able to attract excellent speakers covering the extensive range of topics it aims to address.

The Society also has Corporate Members active in practical engineering such as Frost Engineering who are based in Drayton.

Membership is open to anyone involved in, or just interested in, engineering and technology. It is open to all age groups. The Society welcomes visitors to any lecture.