The Institution of Mechanical Engineers was founded in 1847 by a group of railway engineers ‘to give an impulse to inventions likely to be useful to the world'. From the 56 engineers who attended the inaugural meeting, the Institution has grown to more than 100,000 members in countries all over the world. Originally based in Birmingham, the Institution relocated to London in 1877, and moved in to its purpose-built headquarters at 1 Birdcage Walk, Westminster, in 1899. It holds a small collection of 30 portraits of significant mechanical engineers dating from the early nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century. Many of the portraits in the collection were donated by past presidents. Some, such as those of James Clayton and Sir Christopher Hinton, were commissioned to commemorate donations to the Institution. Two of the gems of the collection are John Lucas portraits of George Stephenson, the first President of the Institution, and his son Robert. The Institution also holds four additional portraits of George Stephenson.
Not all locations are open to the public. Please contact the gallery or collection for more information.