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This year, The Welding Institute celebrates the 100th anniversary since its establishment in 1923 as ‘The Institution of Welding Engineers.’
Our formation as a professional engineering institution, supporting the development of Members in the fields of welding, joining and allied technologies has enabled us to act as a voice for industry, providing authoritative guidance to bodies including the British Standards Institution, the Engineering Council and the UK government.
Licensed by the Engineering Council, we are an independent body promoting and advancing the welding, joining and allied technologies engineering disciplines. The Welding Institute is licensed by the Engineering Council to assess Professional Members in becoming professionally registered as Chartered Engineers (CEng), Incorporated Engineers (IEng) or Engineering Technicians (EngTech).
The formation of The Welding Institute began with the establishment of ‘The Institution of Welding Engineers,’ on the 26 January 1923 with a meeting between 20 men at the Holborn Restaurant in London. The Institution of Welding Engineers united acetylene welders with engineers engaged in electric arc welding and was later formally registered under the Companies Act in February 1923.
The Institution set forward aims to ‘advance and develop the science and practice of welding,’ which included activities such as the reading of papers and lectures, the establishing of welding schools, the drawing up of recommendations and regulations for the welding industry and, additionally, the promotion of related legislation.
Over the following ten years, the Institute’s income grew to £800 per year and our number of Members reached 600.
The library has been a continuous thread throughout the Institute’s history, enabling our Members to explore and share their own personal and professional knowledge.
It has and continues to be a necessary pillar within the Institute with the modern adaptation to all publications being made accessible online. The library archive stretches back to the 1920s, with a commitment to excellence being carried out since then. This has materialised with the library staff being information professionals, always ready and willing to aid Members in their research. They aim to bridge the link and enable Members to make informed decisions using the library’s extensive resources.
In 1935, 12 years after forming, the Institution merged with the British Advisory Welding Council, becoming ‘The Institute of Welding.’ This merger enabled for a ‘wider and more comprehensive programme of work’ to be conducted whilst additionally addressing the ‘pressing demands of all branches of engineering for guidance in welding matters.’ It also further enabled companies to become Members of the Institute, as well as individuals.
Within its new, wider scope, the Institute’s Welding Research Council was formed in 1937, providing ‘status and recognition for the valuable work of the research committees and the standing of their personnel.’ Within this year, the Institute was awarded three grants by the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research to support welding research.
However, despite the Institute’s new scope of work, it didn’t actually have its own laboratories, therefore meaning that work was primarily supported by UK universities.
With professional institutions debarred from being able to also act as research organisations, in 1946, the Institute was forced to split. This led to the formation of the British Welding Research Association (BWRA) as a separate body to The Welding Institute.
The current headquarters of The Welding Institute and TWI, near Cambridge, were also bought in 1946 by the BWRA with the purchase of Abington Hall. Operations were much smaller back then, with the welding shop operating from stables adjoined to the Hall and fatigue research being conducted in a former army hut on the site. The BWRA also owned a residence at 29 Park Crescent in London, which later became the metallurgical laboratory; the butler’s pantry served as the polishing room and the coachman’s quarters hosted the machine shop.
During the Institute’s silver jubilee year of 1948, a Grants of Arms was awarded to the Institute, featuring a coat of arms depicting the formation of a joint with heat and the Latin motto, ‘out of two, one.’
Training and Certification
A growing demand for training courses on welding design and construction resulted in the creation of a course on the welding of pressure vessels in 1957.
Hosted at a property near the Imperial College of Science and Technology in London, the success of this first course was exemplified by the 100 applications exceeding the course’s 40 places. This quickly led to more courses being organised and, by the early 1960s, the training school had hosted over 300 visiting lecturers.
1965 saw the formation of the School of Applied Non-Destructive Testing by the BWRA and the Non-Destructive Society of Great Britain. The new school pioneered formal training in further disciplines including ultrasonic weld testing and radiographic interpretation, leading to the foundation of what would become CSWIP, the Certification Scheme for Welding and Inspection Personnel and TWI Certification.
Reunification: The Modern Institute is Created
With the realisation that both The Institute of Welding and the BWRA’s activities would serve industry better as a ‘single voice for welding technology,’ 1968 saw both bodies merge once more. In the March of 1968 ‘The Institute of Welding’ was renamed as ‘The Welding Institute’ – forming our current Institute.
We have since continued to serve and support our global network of Members’ professional development with the aim to ‘promote professionalism, and the advancement of knowledge, in welding, joining and allied technologies.’
Join us as we celebrate 100 Years of The Welding Institute!
The Welding Institute
Granta Park, Great Abington, Cambridge CB21 6AL, UK
+44 (0)1223 899000
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