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22nd May, 2022

Plaque unveiled at Bromsgrove Station - the historic birthplace of the 175-year-old Institution of Mechanical Engineers

BROMSGROVE Railway Station received a prestigious accolade on Wednesday in recognition of it being the birthplace of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE).

The group was formed when a group of engineers met at the station in 1846 to watch locomotive trials and, during this gathering, they discussed forming a new Institution to meet the needs of mechanical engineers.

The Institution was founded the following year with its first meeting held in Birmingham in January 1847.

The Engineering Heritage Award celebrates Bromsgrove’s unique place in history and the Institution’s 175th year.

IMechE President Peter Flinn unveiled a blue plaque at the Station to celebrate its receipt of the 132nd Engineering Heritage Award.

John Wood, Chair of Engineering Heritage Committee, said: “The aim of the Institution’s Heritage Award scheme is not only to support and recognise important historic sites and artefacts but also to promote the stories behind them as a source of inspiration to everyone and especially to the young engineers of tomorrow.”

The Bromsgrove Station Award is part of a series of events this year to celebrate IMechE’s 175th anniversary and highlight its achievements.

The accolade was also aimed at the contribution of mechanical engineering to society and inspiring a future generation of engineers.

Ally McConnell, descendant of James McConnell who was one of the founding engineers at Bromsgrove Station, attended the ceremony.

She said: “It was a privilege to attend the event and celebrate the work that my ancestor and others did to establish and promote the Society in its fledgling years, and to see how high regard those in the Society see him even 175 years later.”

The Engineering Heritage Awards, established in 1984, aim to celebrate the past and present, by promoting artefacts, sites, or landmarks of significant engineering importance.

Bromsgrove Station will sit among previous winners, such as RAF Museum’s Supermarine Spitfire and Belfast’s Royal Victoria Hospital.

Guests included IMechE Midland Region Chair Kevin Blacktop, who was responsible for submitting the application for the Bromsgrove Heritage Award.

As well as the unveiling, the event featured speeches and refreshments and a light dinner buffet and drinks reception at No 3A Bar and Eatery in Aston Fields.

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