The name Junior Institution of Engineers (JIE) came into existence in 1902 and survived until 1971 when its name changed once more. The JIE had started out life as the Vulcanic Society in 1884 and experienced several name changes before eventually becoming the JIE.

After further name changes and mergers the JIE became the Institution of Incorporated Engineers which merged with the Institution of Electrical Engineers to form the IET in 2006. Full details of all the name changes and mergers that took place to form the IET can be found in the IET’s ‘family tree’ wallchart which can be found here – IET History. The wallchart is also on display in the Knowledge Centre at Savoy Place.

The JIE and its predecessors had a host of distinguished engineers as Presidents including Alexander Siemens (1894-95), Sir Charles Parsons (1899-1900), His Excellency Marchese Marconi (1911-12) and Colonel R E B Crompton (1918-1919). Its purpose, as set out in W J Tennant’s presidential address (President for 1933-34) was explained as follows;

“The Institution was established by ‘juniors for juniors’ in 1884. They certainly never had any notion of inflating the Institution, like the frog in the fable, into an imitation of any senior Institution. The sole object of our founders at that early time (and I knew well, a little later on, nearly all of them) was the instruction and encouragement of the junior engineer. The idea that senior engineers would ever wish to join them as ordinary members was not borne in upon them till long afterwards. Their sole object at the start is still the sole object of our Institution and must never be lost sight of: it is a growing asset and it is one that makes our Institution unique, and prominent even in the presence of the great professional societies.”

W J Tennant was the JIE’s President for its Jubilee year celebrations of 1934, which included an inaugural luncheon in June 1934, shown below.


JIE Archives

Despite the JIE name having had a life of 69 years very little archive material has survived from the JIE. Apart from the JIE’s journal, a complete run of which is held in the IET Library collections, the material now in the IET Archives that was passed across when the IIE merged with the IEE in 2006 is very limited. It comprises the JIE’s Council minutes, its General Meeting minutes, a few committee records, and just three other items. Those three additional items consist of a small memorabilia album, a WWI commemoration plaque, and a photograph album of JIE visits between 1903 and 1909.

Two photographs, which appear in that 1903-1909 album, are shown below. The first image is of members and wives visiting Cadbury’s Bourneville works in 1909.


The second image, from 1906, shows members and wives visiting the National Gas Engine company works.


Recent Donation of JIE Related Material

The scarcity of archival material related to the JIE is just one of the reasons why a recent deposit of JIE material was so important. The depositor, Dr John Heywood, professorial Fellow Emeritus of Trinity College Dublin, is a Fellow of the American Society for Engineering Education, Fellow of the IEEE and Honorary Fellow of the Institution of Engineers Ireland. Dr Heywood, in addition to being a specialist in the field of professional engineering education was also a member of the Junior Institution of Engineers and won its prestigious Vickers Prize Gold Medal twice in 1960 and 1961. His 1958 JIE membership certificate is shown below.


Dr Heywood was heavily involved in the debate in the 1960s about the future of the Junior Institution of Engineers and changing it into a professional institution for technician engineers. He has written a volume on this subject called, ‘changing the Junior Institution of Engineers (Inst. J. E.) into a professional institution for technician engineers 1960 – 1968: a document based recollection’. This document was presented to the IET Archives in January 2016 and forms a key part of this collection together with 2 volumes of supporting documentation. This supporting documentation includes original JIE documents and letters between Dr Heywood and other individuals and organisations which discuss the future role of the JIE.

The collection also includes some key publications from the field of technical education in the UK, Dr Heywood’s later papers and publications concerned with technical education in the UK, and also some of his personal JIE material. Dr Heywood included very generously in his donation one of his Vickers Prize Gold Medals, the medal awarded in 1960. The Vickers Gold Medal and Prize was awarded to him for his paper titled, ‘the design features of large radio telescopes’, which was read 19 February 1960.

Both sides of the medal are shown in the images below – the only example of this medal that we have in the IET Archives.



The John Heywood papers have been catalogued with an archive reference SC MSS 267 and can be consulted in the IET Archives by appointment.