The Importance of Britain’s Engineering Heritage

Britain is well known for its wealth of knowledge in the engineering field, it has been the backbone of our society and economy for generations. The history of engineering can be divided into 4 overlapping phases which are: pre-scientific revolution, industrial revolution, second industrial revolution and the information revolution. Britain is well known for its involvement during both industrial revolutions but it is during the first industrial revolution that Britain made its name as an engineering industry specialist.

The industrial revolution was the beginning of a scientific approach to engineering and solving practical problems. The most notable achievement during this time was the introduction of steam powered machinery to replace human labour and the development of concepts such as structural analysis to the industry. It has been said that the 19th Century was Britain’s century just as the 20th century is the Americans and it is expected that the 21st century will be China’s. One of the key reasons was Britain’s dominance of the industry in the 1800’s. Their engineering feats such as the developments and introduction of the railway system revolutionalised industry and the world alike. During the 1800’s Britain was manufacturing more goods than the rest of the world put together. Britain’s domination the seas with a strong Navy defined them as a formidable economic and engineering force.

The second industrial revolution was symbolised by the introduction of electricity and mass production. It was driven by the introduction of specialised engineering practices such as the introduction of chemical and marine engineering. Britain maintained a strong engineering focus during the second industrial revolution expanding from industries such as shipbuilding into new and more innovative disciplines such as aerospace and automotive. The developments made in these fields helped to fuel existing business such as mining and construction.

Over recent decades Britain’s engineering focus has been replaced with a shift towards the service industry. However, we still stay at the