Earlier in June my professional body, the Institution of Civil Engineers, announced that its membership records dating back to 1820 and up to 1930 had been launched on the Ancestry website.
As well as featuring the most famous civil engineers of the pas,t such as Brunel and, Rennie, the records include my great grandfather, Alfred John Liversedge. The actual record is of his proposal for membership, the recommendation by members who knew him professionally and personally that he was worthy of membership.
His career to date, 1897, is set out by his main proposer and then supported by six others corporate members. I have already seen this record and his other membership records in the archives of the Institution. I have also been into the library and had the satisfaction of asking for his book being probably the first person in many years to open it.
In all his years of associate membership my great grandfather never became a fully chartered engineer. I have often wondered what he would think of me. Over 30 years ago I became a chartered civil engineer, a full member of his institution. Certainly I had advantages that he lacked; a university degree in Civil Engineering whereas he attended commercial school and then went straight into an apprenticeship. Would he proud that I had followed in his footsteps or would he be scandalised that a woman had succeeded in entering those hallowed halls as an equal to the male members? I am sure he would have thought that I had certainly had a far easier path than his and I would have agreed with him. However I hope that if I succeed in putting on an exhibition in celebration of his career in the institution headquarters and in making his contribution to the modern age better known he will forgive me.