History in Civil and Structural Engineering is more than the conservation of heritage: a U.K. perspective on promoting historical knowledge.

Robert McWilliam

Keywords: civil engineering;  history;  heritage;  United Kingdom;  knowledge;  education;  training;  structural safety;  sustainability;  conservation;  publications;  public image

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This paper considers the relationship between history and civil engineering and draws attention to how much reliance is placed on “historical” information, much of which is not recognised as such.  The way the civil engineering heritage in the UK has been studied both to develop best practice in conservation and for historic lessons for future civil engineering is described.  How such knowledge can best be passed on to the next generation is reviewed.  The difficulties in incorporating these understandings within the academic training of future engineers is explored.  On-going activities are described with the potential for a new international journal on Engineering History and Heritage and its relationship with other like-minded communities is outlined.


REFERENCE:  McWilliam,  R.C. 2007 History in Civil and Structural Engineering is more than the conservation of heritage: a U.K. perspective on promoting historical knowledge.  Fourteenth National Engineering Heritage Conference 2007. Perth, Australia, 18 September – 21 September 2007. The Institution of Engineers Australia: Conference Papers.