Familiar faces and new winners of the James Clark Medal award were among guests hosted by the British Tunnelling Society committee at the annual luncheon to recognize the achievements of the recipients.
The event, set in the Brunel Room of the Institution of Civil Engineers in Great George Street, London, last week (20 November 2014), gathered together 14 for the 35 recipients of the accolade that was introduced in 1981 to honour in its own right the career in tunnelling of James Clark who helped establish the BTS in the early 1970s. Among the guests was the newest Medal winner, Peter Jaques, who was presented the award in May 2014 for his long standing service to the BTS and for his innovation in tunnel construction methods, as well as the 2013 Medal winner, Andy Sindall, who was recognized for his long term contribution to the tunnelling industry and for being an inspiration to those who worked with him.
James Clark was a leading engineer in the UK tunnelling industry and worked for Charles Brand & Sons on many well-known tunnels. When he died in his early 60s, his wife, Madeline, bequeathed a sum of money to provide a medal to be awarded annually to a British tunneller to perpetuate James' memory. The original criteria for nomination for the award included either a contemporary achievement in tunnelling, or an innovation, or responsibility for a large project or for a major contribution to the tunnelling industry.
Visit the BTS website to see full list of all recipients of the James Clark Medal since the first in 1981.
At the luncheon, Roger Bridge, Chairman of the BTS, welcomed the guests and toasted the recipients who were unable to attend this year. Alastair Biggart OBE, Gordon Ince, Martin Knights, Alan Dyke and Terry Mellors sent apologies for being unable to be in London on the day.
Among the BTS committee hosts were members of the BTS Young Members group who revelled in the opportunity to share discussions with leading engineers of the UK who have worked in the industry during some of the UK’s most significant tunnelling projects and developments. At our table the discussion centred on development of new nuclear power capacity in the UK; current development of the Thames Tideway supersewer tunnel in London; and a spirited debate about the likelihood of TBMs being launched and in operation for construction of the HS2 high-speed railway by start of 2020.
Following a terrific three-course lunch, the committee members held the regular committee meeting, guests retired to the library and everyone gathered again for the BTS evening meeting in the Telford Theatre. The lecture for the evening was presented to a packed auditorium by James Musgrave, a Director with Arup, and Vincent Avrillon, Business Director of Bouygues UK, to discuss the removal of foreseen and unforeseen obstacles in the path of TBM drives in Hong Kong.
The next evening meeting of the BTS will be held at the ICE on Thursday, 11 December and will be the annual debate. The motion for debate this year is: This house believes that regulation and the accompanying compliance culture is stifling innovation and creativity within the tunnelling industry. To know more about the schedule of monthly meetings and the activities of the Society, visit the BTS website. The monthly BTS meetings are open to anyone interested in the topic of presentation and continue to attract large numbers and, in particular, an ever greater number of engineering students and young professionals.
The next recipient of the James Clark Medal will be nominated and selected by members of the BTS committee and presented with the award at the next annual general meeting at the BTS evening meeting in May 2015.