We had an enjoyable visit to the handsome Institution of Civil Engineers at 1 Great George Street. This year they are celebrating the two hundredth anniversary of their founding, by eight civil (as opposed to military) engineers at Kendall’s coffee house in Fleet Street. As the Institution grew they moved premises several times. The last move, which was caused by the demolition of their building for the construction of the present Treasury Building, was across Great George Street, where the present stone-clad building was completed in 1913, incorporating the very fine wooden panelling from their old headquarters, only finished in 1986.

We were lucky to be able to see all the ground floor rooms, in which the earlier panelling was installed. These are often used for conferences, and are each called after a distinguished early engineer and feature many portraits of past presidents – there were many familiar names: Brunel, Stephenson and Telford among them. We then proceeded up the magnificent stairs to the first floor, where there is a lecture theatre and a very sumptuous reception room, previously used for engineering examinations and their annual ball, as well as the old library in which the Institution puts on exhibitions open to the public. We were also taken upstairs to their excellent modern library, which is much used by their 90,000 members.

On the way the portrait of a past president was pointed out: Mr Brodie, who was president from 1920 to 21 and solved the problem of disputes over whether football goals had been scored or not, by proposing the attachment of nets to the back of goals! A good example of the wide-ranging problem-solving that engineers are trained for.

The main entrance, staircase and exhibition room are open to the general public, Monday to Friday and are well worth a visit, especially to view their bi-centenial "Invisible Superheroes" exhibition.