In pictures: NCE turns 50 in style

New Civil Engineer brought up its half century in style last night.

Celebrating 50 years of unrivalled content, NCE staff past and present came together with industry big wigs at a birthday bash to remember at the ICE’s central London headquarters.

Kicking off the festivities, incumbent NCE editor Claire Smith took to the stage to explain the special relationship NCE’s staff shares with its and readers.

“I have worked on a number of titles in the construction industry over the years, but NCE has a real family feel that no other brand has ever lived up to. I don’t think you ever really leave NCE.

“The family feel within the editorial team extends to the readership too and that is what makes NCE really special.

“Almost everyone I spoke to in the sector during the work on the 50th supplement had a tale to tell about how NCE had influenced their life either through reading its pages or being part of the stories on its pages.”

Also taking to the stage, NCE’s second-ever editor Hugh Ferguson explained how the relationship with readers has not always been so harmonious and some had to be convinced of the magazine’s importance during the early days.

“For most of us members it was a revelation, a breath of fresh air. Lively and informed news and comment, reflecting for the first time the vibrancy and excitement of civil engineering,” he said. “But in those days the profession was much more staid and conservative than it is now, and some members were not so impressed.

“Letters in the second issue included: ‘I have awaited the arrival of the New Civil Engineer with misgiving, but I now find it is far worse even than I feared’ said one. ‘I have received through the post a shoddy imitation of an American periodical’ said another. ‘I trust you will take appropriate steps to suppress this publication, which can only reflect adversely on the good name of the Institution.’

“Fortunately, NCE had some staunch supporters in the ICE hierarchy, notably Sir Kirby Laing, and the magazine was not supressed.”

Meanwhile, ICE president Ed McCann also addressed the audience, championing the success of NCE and stressing that it’s place in the industry will only grow in importance in the coming 50 years as engineers role in tackling the climate emergency becomes more prevalent.

More defining moments and memories from NCE’s 50-year history will be published within the June issue of the magazine, which will be available to read here in the coming weeks.

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